Cathay Pacific flight CX900 bound for Hong Kong with connecting flight CX731 to Dubai left Manila at the expected time of departure, without delay, without hesitation and without my mother.
This is going to be a long rant so sit back, relax and get angry. (The amount of anger I poured into this entry is not even half of what I really felt yesterday. I did not have time to write anything yesterday so the timestamped entry.)
I have finished all the paper work last week concerning my mother’s visit visa — temporary visa issued valid for 60 days. The hubby is starting work on the 1st of May and we needed someone to look after the kid after her school hours. My mother was/is always will be a willing volunteer. I got her tickets scheduled for April 30, today. Everything was ready, from her room to the dinner menu we prepared to welcome her.
Plane bound for Hong Kong is to leave Manila at 12:30 pm, Manila time, 8:30 a.m. Dubai time. At 6:30 a.m. my phone rang. I expected good news that she has safely checked-in and is waiting for boarding already. I got a totally different shocking news instead.
Cathay Pacific refused her entry because of lack of documents. She has the copy of her visit visa but they told her without the:
(1) Original copy of the visit visa — which should be deposited at the Dubai International Airport for safekeeping;
(2) Invitation letter from the sponsor — one of the documents not even mentioned anywhere!!;
(3) Affidavit of support — I don’t even know what the heck this is!! But this is supposed to be a letter I have to get from the Philippine consulate, which is situated in the middle of nowhere and have to be stamped and signed by the consul general to attest that I am financially able to support my mother here. What was the income statement I submitted at the Dubai Immigration for??;
(4) Passport copy and resident visa copy of the sponsor
Without these, she will not be cleared to board the plane by Philippine Immigration
crooks officials. These 4 documents are what I submitted when I applied for her visa in UAE Immigration office. The visa was issued, normally, you take a copy, send it to the traveller and deposit the original visa at the Dubai International Airport. She will then exchange her copy with the original, pass passport control section and step out. As simple as that. All the red-tape books says that, the people I know and myself did just that.
But freaking Manila is making a rule of its own. What is nerve-wracking is why they insist that my mother has to have the said documents when she is supposed to be cleared already. She was even escorted out of the airport after being denied boarding because she doesn’t have SUPPORTING PAPERS.
I have never broken down in such a long time as much as I did this morning. I felt extreme hate towards one country and its scrupulous system. Some Filipinos inside the bus just shrugged their shoulders as they told me, “Come on, don’t tell me something you don’t already know, that’s the way it is there and you should have told your mother to prepare for a large amount of money to give to the Immigration officer to clear her.” That just make me my blood boil!
What the officials needed was not really supporting papers but SUPPORTING PESOS to fast-track her travel. One could only imagine the level of anger, dismay, humiliation, sorrow at the thought of this.
The crocodiles working for the government takes whatever centavo they can get from travellers, especially workers going abroad for a living. They think money grows on trees and these crocodiles shamelessly think that they should have a fair share of every peso of every person leaving and entering the international airport!
No wonder, Hong Kong based Political and Economic Risk Council investigations affirm that the Philippines ranks first place among nations with the highest level of corruption. But survey results like this don’t even get through their thick skin. Everyday, everyone leaving and entering the airport have some (cash) stories to tell.
For formalities sake, I sent the documents they demanded from mother in the hope of her taking her flight safely. Never mind I have to be out of the office the whole day to gather these. Never mind that I have to pay a lot of money for taxi to turn round and round the street looking for the invisible Philippine consulate (they have transfered more than 5 times already and don’t disclose information readily to the poor unfortunate souls) . Never mind that I have to spend a fortune for Fedex to send the documents fast to my mother who is stranded in Manila. (Luckily, a very kind long-time friend agreed to my request to accommodate my mom until her flight to Dubai)
A Filipino colleague told me to send my mom money as well in case they extort her. To be brutally honest, I DON’T WANT TO PAY for something I should not!! Every one should not pay as this only creates a very vicious cycle.
Beggars Robbers will continue to beg rob if given ready heist alms on a daily basis.
Updated: I am wrong, these sleazebags are not beggars as they don’t beg to get money out of people, they practically rob them helplessly right there and then.