Qatar has made economic adjustments to respond effectively to the difficulties presented by the blockade, Philippine ambassador Alan Timbayan has said.
“These changes have not only allowed it to weather these difficulties, but also enabled the country to emerge stronger. For example, issues relating to food security have been addressed, either by co-operation with non-traditional partners or by implementing plans for self-sufficiency,” he said.
The blockade of Qatar marked its third anniversary on Friday. Amid this diplomatic rift, the envoy stressed that Qatar's economy remained resilient, and witnessed its trade and investment growing – a proof to the success not only of the country's economic planning, but its implementation as well.
Timbayan lauded Qatar’s efforts in dealing with these kinds of challenges and in trying to resolve this regional rift, saying the country has repeatedly called for a dialogue.
“We believe that while some of the challenges presented by the blockade have been addressed, what cannot be ignored is the humanitarian aspect, such as the separation of families. The resolution of these issues necessitates a dialogue among the countries involved, a dialogue that should ensure that all matters, not just the political or economic, are discussed,” he said.
Recalling the beginning of the blockade, Timbayan said “there was concern, which has been replaced by a sense of security that is based on the high-level of trust and confidence in the Qatar government”.
“This trust, in turn, resulted from the direction and action taken by the country’s leadership in navigating the difficulties of the blockade,” he noted.
“The actions taken by the government, along with the support and co-operation extended by the private sector, have ensured not only the security of the country, but also the welfare of all citizens and residents,” the envoy stressed.
Timbayan also highlighted the close bilateral relations between Qatar and the Philippines, and under the current leadership of both countries, even before the blockade.
“Closer ties are being forged as exemplified by the exploration of more avenues for co-operation. This close relationship, as evidenced by the exchange of high-level visits of Philippine and Qatari officials, will only get stronger in the future,” he said.
Besides the blockade, Qatar has ably handled the problems brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic – its inclusive and equitable response has taken into account all aspects of the situation.
Qatar, Timbayan said, not only guaranteed healthcare for citizens and residents alike, but also ensured that everyone would have access to the same kind of medical treatment.
“While we all understand that the pandemic will clearly have a significant economic impact, as can be seen the world over, it is reassuring that the State of Qatar has placed utmost importance on the health, safety and well-being of its citizens and residents,” he said.
The envoy described the economic plan for the pandemic that has been adopted Qatar as noteworthy, saying these measures try to address the needs of the country as a whole.
The economic package also offers support to the private sector, from the large companies and business to the small and medium enterprises, according to Timbayan.
In the fight against Covid-19 in terms of humanitarian and medical assistance and repatriation, Timbayan said Qatar and the Philippines continue to collaborate closely, especially on matters that concern Filipinos in Qatar.
“The host government, through its ministries and agencies, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) and Ministry of Interior (MoI), have continued to help the embassy in assisting Filipinos in Qatar who have encountered problems because of the pandemic,” he said.
“The host government's co-operation was also essential when the embassy mounted its first repatriation flight on May 20, and the embassy will continue to co-ordinate with the Qatari agencies concerned for its upcoming repatriation efforts,” the envoy added.
“On the other hand, the initiatives of the MADLSA, MoI and Qatar Charity for the provision of food packets to the Filipino community have been most welcome and reaffirms the commitment of the State of Qatar in also looking after the well-being not only of its citizens, but also its residents,” Timbayan said.