DOLE Makes Partial Lifting on OFW Deployment to Qatar

The Department of Labor and Employment on Wednesday announced it partially lifted its earlier order suspending the deployment of Filipino workers to Qatar.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, however, clarified that the suspension was lifted only for workers who are holding valid overseas employment certificate — a document issued by the Philippine Overseas Employmetn Administration to OFWs before they are allowed to work abroad — and those returning to current jobs in Qatar.

Filipino workers with pending applications are still not allowed for deployment, Bello added, saying that POEA has suspended processing of workers bound for Qatar indefinitely.

The lifting of the suspension came after the crisis committee, which Bello formed to monitor the situation in Qatar, made the recommendation after getting updates from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Qatar.

“They reached a consensus to lift the temporary suspension until further assessment of the situation in Qatar,” Bello said.

“The Embassy of Qatar assured us that there is an oversupply of food and our workers are safe there,” he added, saying the Embassy of Qatar sent a letter to the DOLE requesting him to reconsider his decision after
suspending the deployment of workers.

Shortly after the lifting of the deployment moratorium, about 300 OFWs holding OECs were able to fly back to Qatar.

Bello has since ordered POLO in Qatar to submit hourly reports on the situation there. Information shall be analyzed by the crisis committee as basis for further action.

The blanket suspention on OFW deployment to Qatar was a preemptive move after DOLE received reports of panic buying in the gas-rich country.

“The situation in Qatar as of this morning has already normalized and there is no more panic buying based on the report from our Labor Office in Doha, so the committee decided on the lifting of the suspension,” Bello explained.

About 80 per cent of Qatar’s food needs are traditionally imported from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.