Doha crisis likely to slash OFW remittances by 20%
(The Freeman) - September 14, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cash remittances from migrant Filipino workers based in Qatar are likely to nosedive by 20 percent, or $200 million (P10.4 billion), this year due to Doha’s lingering diplomatic crisis, the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations said on Friday.

“Filipino workers in Qatar used to send home via bank wire an average of $1 billion every year, but that amount could drop to just $800 million this year,” said ACTS-OFW chairman Aniceto Bertiz III.

Cash transfers from Filipino workers in Qatar already tumbled by 25.6 percent to just $392 million from January to June this year compared to $527 million in the same semester in 2018, Bertiz pointed out.

“A considerable number of Filipinos workers in Qatar have been displaced after other Arab countries stopped doing business with Doha. This explains the drop in remittances,” Bertiz, a former member of Congress, said.

“We are hoping that Doha’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will somehow help temporarily create new job opportunities for Filipinos in Qatar,” Bertiz said.

An estimated 260,000 Filipinos are employed in Qatar. They include engineers, health practitioners, teachers, airline and hotel staff as well as construction and household service workers.

In June 2017, four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – severed diplomatic and trade ties with, and imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Qatar, over allegations that Doha has been helping to foster terrorism and has become too friendly with Iran.

The Saudi-led coalition demanded that Doha shutter the Qatari state-owned Al Jazeera news broadcasting network and close down a Turkish military base in Qatar.

They also insisted that Doha downgrade its diplomatic relations with Tehran.

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