Filipinos want support affidavit scrapped

DUBAI — Several groups under the umbrella of the Filipino Community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates have clamoured for the abolition of the affidavit of support and guarantee requirement imposed by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration Department (BID) for Dubai-bound Filipinos on visit visa, since July 2010.

By Lily B Libo-on

Published: Fri 16 Sep 2011, 10:51 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:55 AM

These groups under the Filipino Community (FILCOM), which comprises over a hundred Filipino organisations in Dubai and other emirates like Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, have been circulating emails seeking signatures of Filipino expatriates in the UAE demanding for the abolition of the said BID requirement.

Their campaign is anchored on the allegations that the immigration officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila are not keen on checking the documents their departing loved ones are carrying with them.

The same email campaign also made allegations of ‘under the table’ and ‘escort’ systems going on at NAIA involving unspecified immigration officials who decide if they should or should not allow UAE-bound passengers to take their flights. “In many cases, passengers who have refused to engage in the ‘escort system’ and pay under the table, have been off-loaded,” they claimed.

Rading Cal of the Filipino Welfare Association said that the email campaign is one of the ways through which the complaints of the many victims of the so-called abuses at NAIA will reach the authorities concerned for disciplinary action or administrative sanctions.

He said that in 2005, illegal payouts to unscrupulos officials at NAIA ranged from P1,000 (Dh100) to P5,000 (Dh500) only. “Now, it is between P20,000 (Dh2,000) and P30,000 (Dh3,000). How much then shall they take from us next?” he asked.

Organisations such as Kalahi International, Lightform, Lakas Kababaihan, Bicol Anom, Katipunan ng Liping Pilipino and OFW Matanglawin are in the forefront of this ongoing email campaign. They said that Republic Act 8042 as amended by Republic Act 10022, specifies that only the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labour and Employment, through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, ‘may have the responsibility to issue travel advisories restricting travels of Filipinos.’

They questioned the alleged restrictions by BID through the requirement of affidavit of support and guarantee to Filipinos wanting to travel abroad. “They said that the requirement was intended to curb human trafficking, but why did BID impose this only for UAE-bound travellers? Why not Malaysia where reports of human trafficking are also rampant?” they asked.

Philippine Consul General in Dubai, Benito B Valeriano told Khaleej Times that he is backing the clamour of the Filipinos in the UAE to scrap the requirement of affidavit and support. “The BID in its circular mentioned that only Filipinos travelling to the UAE need to present this affidavit of support to prove that they can guarantee the travel and stay of their loved ones to UAE.”

He said that the attestation and notarisation of the same takes so much time of the Consulate staff as hundreds come to apply just to get a red-ribbon document from the Consulate General. “It is a BID requirement, not ours,” he added. —

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