The Filipino Times News 16 January 2014


OFWs deep in debt could seek longer repayment terms



DUBAI – Filipinos here wallowing in debt and unable to meet their payment obligations need not lose hope as legal experts say there are “possible courses of action” that could free them from a difficult situation.

Jeff, a Dubai resident for eight years, wrote to The Filipino Times:  “I have credit cards with First Gulf Bank & Mashreq Bank, and I have been unable to pay my liabilities to those banks for some reasons.”

He also said: “I want to pay those banks but they want me to pay them on time and I don’t have that kind of amount to pay them right now. I wish they can give me an installment plan that will suit my capability to pay.”

Jeff is not alone. Many other Filipinos in Dubai and other parts of the world are in similar situation.

Michael Barney Almazar, Director at Dubai-based Gulf Law, said there are debt cases which have been filed with the court and those that haven’t been filed.

Almazar said: “We need to know first whether the case has been filed before the Police/Court already. If it is not yet filed, we can request the bank to make a payment restructuring and/or waiver of fees. Banks will evaluate the financial condition of the debtor and will offer a workable solution.”

Payment restructuring is a method sought by individuals or companies with loan obligations to alter the terms of the loan agreement to avoid default.

Almazar also said: “On the other hand, if the case is already before the Police/Court, we need to study the case to determine possible courses of action. There are cases where the bank will agree to release the case and enter into an out-of-court settlement. In other cases, the debtor is released despite partial payment and the balance of his loan is refinanced by another bank,” he added.

As earlier reported, a growing number of Filipinos have been seeking assistance from the consulate after getting into trouble due to their credit card debts. He added that in some special cases, the consulate – for humanitarian reasons – had to step in to help heavily indebted Filipinos.

Meanwhile, Volunteer Filipino Lawyers in cooperation with the Philippine Consulate will be giving Free/Pro Bono legal aid and seminars on January 24, 2014 from 2:30 – 4pm at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai.

Topic will be on Credit Cards and Loans:

● Know your rights and obligations

● Police Case

● Bounced Cheques

● Bank Settlements

● Court Case

● Abusive Debt Collectors

● Central Bank Blacklist

● How to restructure your loans from different banks

Those interested may register by calling 04-4492076 or visiting

Barney invites Filipinos to attend his firm’s free legal aid and seminar set on January 24.

Do you have a question that requires an expert’s opinion? Write to The Filipino Times at and we’ll try to get professionals to answer your query.

Atty.barneyAtty. Barney Almazar is a director at the Commercial Department of Gulf Law in the Middle East, Philippines and United Kingdom. He has a legal consultancy license in the UAE and is a lifetime member of the  Philippine Bar. He holds Juris Doctor and MBA dual degrees with concentration on international business and European Union law (University of London). Readers can contact him at or 04- 4492076.




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