• 2 Filipinos killed in Qatar explosion

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    Two Filipinos were among the 12 people killed in an explosion in a Turkish restaurant in the Qatar capital of Doha.

    Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Raul Hernandez said Friday two other Filipinos were injured in the blast. The two were in stable condition, Hernandez said.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has instructed the Philippine Embassy in Doha to assist the victims and the survivors, who were working as merchandisers.

    “The relatives of the victims have been informed of the fate of their loved ones. We hope to repatriate the remains as soon as possible,” Hernandez said.

    He added that the sponsors of the Filipino workers assured the embassy they will shoulder the expenses of the treatment and the repatriation of the remains.

    The Filipinos were near the restaurant when the explosion ripped through it, the official said.

    Hernandez said the department has yet to determine if terrorists were behind the blast. International news agencies, on the other hand, said the explosion was accidental.

    Of the Filipinos affected by the blast, only one was a member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Hernandez refused to say if the Filipinos are undocumented because some of them may have just opted to renew their OWWA memberships at a later date.

    There are 185,000 Filipinos in Qatar, most of them skilled workers. A “significant number” are household workers, semi-skilled workers and professionals.

    BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON

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