By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday directed Undersecretary for Civilian Security Brigido Dulay to verify reports that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Qatar are being prevented from reporting for work amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
In a tweet, Locsin specifically cited Filipinos who are working for Qatar Airways who are reportedly being “left out in the open.”
“I have a report from a friend that our people in Qatar are being barred from going to work, especially in Qatar Airways, and left out in the open. Double-checking with @DFAQatar if there is such a thing. I wanna know in half an hour. Going to IATF (Interagency Task Force) in (Camp) Crame now,” Locsin said in a Twitter post addressed to Dulay.
As of March 16, 2020, Qatar has reported a total of 439 COVID-19 infected individuals with new cases reportedly contracted with expatriate workers who are currently under quarantine.
Beginning March 18, the Qatari government will ban non-Qataris from entering the country for at least two weeks except for passengers with onward connections through the Hamad International Airport.
Locsin, in an earlier tweet, said three Filipinos were fined in Madrid, Spain for “violating quarantine rules.”
“3 Pinoys caught violating quarantine rules in Madrid and fined. Good. Learn Spanish, when you’re in Spain. In the Philippines, learn English if you are visiting orientals,” he said.