Plea Made to Waive Penalties of Stranded Visa Changers in Oman

DUBAI — The Philippine Embassy in Muscat, Oman, is conducting a series of meetings with the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the sultanate to discuss the possibility of waiving the fines against stranded Filipinos at Khasab in Musundam and Al Buraimi.

By Lily B. Libo-on

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Published: Sun 12 Oct 2008, 9:58 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:31 PM

Philippine Ambassador to Oman Akmad D. Omar recently made an official request to the Omani government to waive the penalties, particularly the fines, against the over 2,000 Filipinos from the UAE, who crossed the borders of Khasab and Al Buraimi on visa runs.

Earlier, Aminah Marbuey, Coordinator of the Philippine Embassy at the Al Buraimi border, said all these visa changers from the UAE have been issued three-week visas after which they will have to pay Dh150 for a one-week extension.

“If their UAE visas do not reach them within a month, they will have to go back to their country or pay a fine of Dh100 daily for overstaying,” Marbuey said.

Hundreds of those stranded have not been able to get either the UAE visas nor Omani visas, forcing many of them to go into hiding for fear of being caught.

They have no cash to pay the daily fines.

After a fact-finding mission the ambassador visited Al Buraimi and Khasab on September 23, he started meeting with Omani officials. The latest meeting was on October 6.

No positive reply has come from the Omani government.

Staff of the Philippine Embassy distributed food, clothes and cooking pots to the stranded Filipinos in Khasab and Al Buraimi on October 1, the second day of Eid.

More cash and other assistance are expected to reach the borders as the Filipino community in Oman vowed on October 7 to support the Philippine Embassy’s efforts to reach assistance to their compatriots stranded in the sultanate. Many of those stranded have been there for over two months. They are staying in hotels along the borders.

Melvin Jonas A. Villaflor, chairman of the Filipino Community Social Club (FILCOSOC), told Khaleej Times that they had paid a courtesy call to Ambassador Omar at the embassy in Muscat and expressed their full support to him and the stranded Filipinos.

He said the FILCOSOC and its affiliated groups are already taking measures to assist the Philippine Embassy in its efforts to provide relief goods to the distressed Filipinos on the borders.

Omar, in turn, expressed his gratitude to the Filipino community for its assistance.

He is coordinating closely with Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Libran N. Cabactulan to find ways to solve the problem.

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