Qatar OFWs Undeterred By Arab Blockade

A week since the Saudi-led issued a blockade against Qatar, Filipinos based in the country have yet to experience in their daily lives, despite initial chaos, according to a report from Rappler.

Despite the diplomatic crisis, Qatar-based Filipino Jennie Martin told Rappler that it’s “business a usual” as no change has taken place since the issue started.

Although Martin confirmed that some Qataris went panic-buying when the blockade was first announced, most have remained calm.

“We are very much okay here and [resources are not scarce], so nothing to be scared of.”

Another Filipino in Qatar, accountant Ramie Magdasal, echoed Martin’s observationsthat “nothing has changed” since the blockade was announced. Filipinos were scared at first, he said, but they immediately went “back to normal life.”

Both Martin and Magdasal are confident that Qatar will make it through the crisis.

Ressie Fos, chairperson of the United Filipino Organizations, an umbrella organization composed of 215 groups of OFWs in Qatar, told the Filipino Times that some OFWs expressed worries about the crisis but “only on social media, so far.”

“Lahat ng worries nasa social media pa lang. May nababasa ako sa Facebook na mga nag-stock ng tubig at supplies,” he said. (All worries are just on social media. I’ve seen people on Facebook stocking up on water and supplies.)

“Unless the diplomatic is resolved soon, a rippling effect will be felt by Filipinos in the Middle East by a lingering crisis between Qatar and the the 9 other Middle East countries,” said recruitment specialist Emmanuel Geslani.

According to a 2017 population report from Qatar-based journalist Priya D’Souza, there are as many as 260,000 Filipinos living in Qatar as of January 2017, making it the 4th biggest group of foreign workers in Qatar.