Pinoys working at blazed Doha mall fear of losing jobs

AS the mall in Doha, Qatar was gutted by a fire Monday that killed 19 people, including 3 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and caused scores of fatalities, a Filipino migrant rights group said Pinoy workers who reported work or working inside the Villagio Mall fear of losing their job.

On Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed and identified the 3 OFWs killed in that tragic fire that gutted the Villagio Mall in Doha. Two other OFWs have been reported hurt and are now being treated in a hospital in Doha.

“As to our initial estimate, there are around 400 OFWs reporting work or working inside the Villagio Mall. Obviously, the mall has been closed due to that fire incident that broke out the other day,” said Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona.

Monterona added that 60% of the estimated 400 OFWs working inside the Villagio Mall are women performing sales-related jobs as sales ladies and cashiers. Some of the male OFWs work as store merchandisers.

“We were able to talk to a number of OFWs working inside the Villagio Mall who shared to us their horrifying experience when the fire gutted the mall. They shared their fears of losing jobs as the said mall has been closed and would not know when it will be opened so that they could report for work,” Monterona added.

Bobby, not his real name, who works as store merchandiser, aired his worries of the effect of the fire such as eventually losing his job. “We don’t know yet what will happen. We would be lucky if we will be transferred to another store,” Bobby conveyed to M-ME’s Monterona.

Monterona said the Philippine Overseas Labor office (POLO) in Doha must look into this and extend assistance to those who will be displaced from their job as a result of the fire that gutted the Villagio Mall.

He also calls on the Aquino government through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to immediately provide assistance to the families of the 3 OFWs killed and other fatalities.

“Burial assistance and other financial assistance must be given to the families. Those who will be displaced from their job must be assisted,” concluded Monterona, who is now based in Doha, Qatar.

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