DFA: PH embassy investigating reported death of Pinoy worker at Qatar resort

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2022 06:02 PM | Updated as of Dec 09 2022 01:02 AM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE)- The Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday the Philippine Embassy in Doha is investigating the reported death of a Filipino worker in Qatar.

"The Embassy is working with legal authorities to ascertain more details of his passing. They will remain in contact with the next of kin of the deceased as they work for the earliest repatriation of his remains," the Philippine Embassy in Doha said in a statement.

The Filipino worker reportedly died in an accident at a resort used as a training base by the Saudi national football team during the group stage of the ongoing FIFA World Cup.

A report from the Athletic said that the worker was involved in a forklift truck accident in which he slipped off a ramp while walking alongside the vehicle and fell headfirst against concrete. The report cited a Qatari official saying the worker's employer will be subject to legal action if found liable for not following safety protocols.

Sky News meanwhile reported that FIFA had confirmed the incident, saying the football governing body got in touch with local authorities to ask for more details.

"As soon as FIFA was made aware of the accident, we contacted the local authorities to request more details," FIFA said in a statement.

A local official also said the matter is under probe.

"The incident is being investigated by the Qatari authorities," the Qatari government official said on condition of anonymity.

"If the investigation concludes that safety protocols were not followed, the company will be subject to legal action and severe financial penalties."

Qatar's World Cup organizers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said the site of the accident was not under its jurisdiction.

The Filipino was also "not under the remit" of the committee, it said in a statement.

Qatar has been under fire for deadly labor accidents in the years leading to the World Cup, with rights groups citing alleged unfair working conditions for migrant workers.

Migrant workers make up more than 2.5 million of Qatar's 2.9 million population and labor conditions have been strongly criticized -- particularly in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Last month, Qatari authorities said 414 migrant workers died in labor accidents between 2014-2020.

Under pressure from international unions, Qatar has undertaken labor reforms that have been praised. These include introducing a minimum wage of 1,000 riyals ($260), and restriction of hours in which workers can go out in extreme heat.

The World Cup began on Nov. 20 and ends on Dec. 18.

— With a report from Agence France-Presse

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