Gulf News 11 February 2014


Filipinos advised to know their rights and responsibilities

Year-long campaign includes awareness about UAE laws on employment, visa, family laws

    • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
    • Published: 21:12 February 11, 2014
    • Gulf News


Dubai: Filipino expatriates need to reconsider their ‘easy to forgive and forget nature’ and discern if they are being taken advantage of. But they also need to familiarise themselves with the UAE laws to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law.

This is the year-long campaign by a group of Filipino lawyers at Dubai-based Gulf Law through a series of free legal aid and seminars in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“We do not generalise. But many of the low-income group Filipinos who had been aggrieved by another party opt to just put it down to experience, just let it go and move on with their lives, especially if the amount in question is not a sizeable one,” Atty Barney Almazar, a Filipino lawyer who is a licensed UAE legal consultant and partner at Gulf Law, told Gulf News.

Although they think it works to their advantage in getting on with life, the practice could also encourage more problems in the future.

“We get comments from other nationalities saying, ‘Filipinos don’t complain anyway’. So the practice partially encourages those with ill intentions,” Almazar said.

Almazar said fear, lack of awareness of their rights, and the cost of pursuing a case in the UAE are other reasons why some Filipinos don’t pursue a case against the other party.

But this won’t be the case for long, Almazar said, as he and his colleagues will dedicate their time and expertise to a series of free lectures at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate in Dubai scheduled for this year.

Understanding the wage protection system, calculating your gratuity pay, learning how to file a labour case and many more labour-related concerns will be tackled on March 14. Common problems and questions about credit cards and loans will be tackled at the embassy in April. Visa and immigration laws will be discussed on May 2 while family laws will be discussed on June 20.

Vice-Consul Ryan Pondoc, Assistance To Nationals Section head at the consulate, encouraged Filipinos to take advantage of the initiative.

“This is very important to educate and empower Filipinos about the law, rules, and regulations of the UAE. Knowledge is power. It’s important that they know not only their rights but also their responsibilities,” Pondoc told Gulf News.

For more information, visit or call 04-4492076.

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