Senator Joel Villanuva has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to prepare for the "worst case scenario" in line with the recent diplomatic crisis in the Arab Gulf.
Recently, four Arab countries namely Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations that it supports extremist groups.
The DOLE consequently ordered the suspension of deployment of workers to Qatar amid crisis in the said Middle East country.
"We urge the DOLE to prepare its contingency plan for our workers who will be affected by the deployment ban. In the same way, we advise the Labor Department to be ready as well for the worst case scenario should there be a need to repatriate our OFWs from Qatar," Villanueva said.
Qatar is the fourth top destination of OFWs. Currently, it is populated by more than 200,000 Filipino migrant workers.
"We also urge the DFA, POEA, and OWWA to ensure that the safety of the Filipinos abroad will be their utmost priority as diplomatic crisis persists in the Arab Gulf," the senator said.
Villanueva added that it would be best for our embassy in Qatar to maintain an open line of communication with our overseas workers and their employers to address their concerns in the area.
"In light of the recent events, we advise our OFWs in Qatar and other affected countries not to panic and be vigilant in the face of the ongoing acts of terrorism in several parts of the world. Nothing is more powerful than our collective prayer to bring forth renewed peace and order and finally put an end to these senseless acts of violence," Villanueva said.