De Lima wants to know if gov’t can handle effects of Arab diplomatic row

Sen. Leila de Lima. ARNOLD ALMACEN / INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Duterte administration should be ready for any “worst-case scenario” as the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighboring countries continues, Sen. Leila de Lima has said.

De Lima has filed Senate Resolution No. 406 urging the government to conduct a readiness assessment to respond to the effects of the Qatar crisis particularly the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWS).

“In view of the diplomatic tension, there is a need to look into the preparedness of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), including the embassies and consulates abroad, to provide assistance to OFWs in the event the diplomatic crisis worsens and compromises the safety of OFWs and their families,” she said.

READ: Ready contingency plans for Qatar-Mideast crisis, gov’t agencies urged

Saudi Arabia and six other nations in the Arab Peninsula have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar for allegedly supporting terrorism.

De Lima, citing economists, said the diplomatic row between Qatar and Arab nations could lead to “serious economic and political implications,” that could affect around 250,000 OFWs in Qatar.

She said the DOLE and DFA must ensure employment opportunities for affected OFWs in Qatar who intend to return to the country.

“The DOLE and DFA must also provide constant assessments of the existing situations through the country’s embassies and consulates with a great sense of urgency and be ready to implement contingency measures, including possible repatriation and reintegration,” she said.

The senator expressed optimism that the row between Qatar and its neighboring countries would be settled peacefully.

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