Cimatu ready for Middle East deployment amid Qatar crisis


Posted at Jun 09 2017 03:23 PM

MANILA - Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Friday said he was ready to be deployed to the Middle East if he is tapped by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Cimatu, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff and retired general, is the concurrent Philippine Special Envoy to the Middle East.

He said, based on his assessment, the threat level in Qatar was at level 2. 

"The threat, di pa gaanong kataas," he said.

Qatar, a tiny Gulf state, was embroiled in a diplomatic rift with its neighbors after 7 governments severed diplomatic relations on Monday over allegations that it supported Muslim extremism.

Official data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said there were at least 127,917 overseas Filipino workers deployed in Qatar in 2016. 

The Department of Labor and Employment on Tuesday suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to the embattled Middle Eastern country, but rescinded the order a day after.

For Cimatu, who in 2002 was named Middle East crisis manager after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the immediate evacuation of all Filipinos in Iraq, said a third party should intervene to resolve the issue since Filipinos would still be caught in between crisis between Qatar and other middle eastern countries.

- with a report from Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News