Gulf News 6 April 2014

Filipinos in UAE endangered by 'sweet and kind nature'

Philippines expats urged to know their rights ahead of free legal seminar

    • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
    • Published: 22:00 April 6, 2014
    • Gulf News



Dubai: A free legal seminar and consultation for Filipinos will be held at the Philippines embassy in Abu Dhabi on April 11.

Filipino lawyers at Dubai-based Gulf Law will educate Filipinos about UAE laws and how to avoid getting on their wrong side.

The “sweet and kind nature” of Filipinas often endangers them because they are misread by other nationalities, Atty Barney Almazar, a licensed UAE legal consultant and partner at Gulf Law, said.

“Filipinas have a reputation of being sweet and polite, that’s why they are preferred candidates in the hospitality sector. But these characteristics are often misinterpreted as them asking for attention, which could lead to harassment,” Almazar, a Filipino, added.

“We want to change this by teaching Filipinas their rights under present laws in the UAE.”

Almazar said most victims of sex-related crimes are Filipinas in the low-income bracket, based on anecdotal evidence of clients that seek help from their office. They are the ones who would less likely pursue a case against their attackers for various reasons, one being fear.

“We would like to remove the stigma about reporting cases of rape. Yes, there are instances when reports of rape are adjudged as consensual sex. That’s why some Filipinas get scared in reporting incidents of rape. But we want to address this by educating them about their rights,” he said.

The seminar is part of a series of legal aid seminars that will be held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A seminar on Philippine civil registration laws and procedures as well as marriage and family laws in the Philippines and UAE will be held at the Philippine embassy on April 25 from 1pm to 7pm and at the consulate in Dubai on April 26 from 1pm to 7pm.

Undersecretary Carmelita Ericta, Interim National Statistician of the Philippine Statistics Authority, and other officials will fly to the UAE to talk about these civil registration matters such as birth, marriage, divorce, death and petitions for correction of clerical errors in civil registry documents.

To confirm your attendance, email the embassy at or the consulate at

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