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Pinoy Abroad

Diplomatic crisis sends some Pinoys in Qatar panic buying

Despite appeal from Philippine officials to stay calm, some Filipinos in Qatar, which is facing an unprecedented diplomatic crisis, could not help but rush to supermarkets to buy more than a day's worth of goods.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain announced on Monday the severance of diplomatic ties with Qatar  over allegations that it supports terrorism and destabilization of the region.

This was followed by similar statement of diplomatic withdrawal by Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Maldives.

This development caused panic among several Filipinos in Qatar, which hosts the third biggest number of OFWs in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Panic buying

"Namili siya ng mga delata, bigas, tubig, gatas at mga pagkain na matagal ma-expire," Babylyn Ani Tanyag, a nurse at Hamad Medical Corporation, told GMA News Online in an interview online, referring to her husband.

"Sa malayong grocery na siya nakabili kasi ubos na talaga yung dito sa malalapit. Ang haba daw ng pila sa cashier. Umabot siya ng two hours sa pila. Pati mga trolley ubos sa sobrang dami ng namimili," she added.

"Cecille," a government employee, said she bought "a stock of diapers, milk, baby water, and wipes."

"I just bought a stock of diapers, milk, baby water, and wipes, then a normal amount of grocery for our family," she said. "I haven't bought diaper for my eldest son because there is no stock in the shelves already. And the brand and label of his milk is also last in the shelves so I took all the six big cans."

"We're fine here"

Maika Carrillo, 28, warehouse officer in Mesaieed, on the other hand, isn’t alarmed at all. "Normal pa rin naman dito ang lahat. Patuloy pa rin ang trabaho," he said, although he admitted that some had resorted to panic buying.

"'Yun lang, may mga nagpa-panic buying kasi karamihan ng mga produkto ay angkat galing UAE and KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)," he said.

Denise Lozada, who lives in Qatar with her family, said the panic buying could be related to the "usual Ramadan scene."

"Groceries here closes bet 11 to 3 p.m. So people (Muslims) rush to groceries to stock up for the 5 meals they are about to prepare from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.," she said.

She also said that despite the diplomatic, Qatar is "doing fine."

"We're fine here. One good thing that will come out of this, is that Qatar needs it's expats more than ever," Denise said. —KBK, GMA News