Bishop lauds Qatar amnesty for 10 OFWs

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Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga

MANILA, Jan. 8, 2016— A Catholic bishop lauded Qatar’s amnesty for prisoners, including 10 Filipino workers.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said the Church is grateful to the “benevolent actions” of the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

“We appreciate the kindness and charitable pardon of Qatar to our 10 OFWs,” Santos said.

“On this Jubilee of Mercy we experienced acts of mercy and compassion. Lives have been spared from punishment. Lives have been saved,” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the clemency were granted on the occasion of Qatar National Day on December 18, 2015.

The agency, however, did not identified the pardoned Filipinos and their offences.

The Emir usually issues pardons twice a year, the other during the holy month of Ramadan. In July 2015, the Emir pardoned 12 Filipino prisoners as part of the annual Ramadan tradition.

“Now from the pardon of Qatar we have lessons to be learned: gratitude be shown by more dedication to works and being more disciplined to the laws and customs of those countries,” Santos said.

The prelate also called on the government to show compassion to “our suffering OFWs” by preserving and promoting their rights.

He said these include ending the P550 Philippine airport terminal fee for OFWs, respect of “balikbayan” boxes, and prosecuting the “tanim-bala” extortionists. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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