About 644 Filipinos have lost the jobs they had in Qatar because of a diplomatic crisis between Doha and other Arab regimes that began last year.

Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the diplomatic row had led to companies being closed down and retrenchment of hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Philippine Star reported.

“The situation in Qatar seems to be getting worse. In fact, the leader of our OFW organization visited me last week and informed me about the incidents of stoppage and separation from work,” Bello said.

He said the Department of Labor and Employment would send a team headed by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to check on the welfare and conditions of the Filipinos in the Middle East.

Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III said the Philippine government was closely observing the political disputes in the Middle East as they can be a threat for OFWs.

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