Unjustified ‘offloading’ of Filipino travelers

My old post: New Rule for Filipinos Traveling to Dubai discussing the pains of Filipinos traveling from the Philippines to Dubai has been getting a lot of  attention lately from people wanting to travel to Dubai but faced a lot of problems with the immigration officials in Manila.

Despite having proper documents, Filipinos still face problems at the immigration desks while exiting the country. The proper documents would include passport,  visa to enter Dubai and that Affidavit of Support (a new document imposed last Sept 2010 by the Philippine government supposedly to curb human trafficking but has been subjected to a lot of abuse and seen only as new money making scheme) authenticated at the Philippine consulate in Dubai and air tickets. But horror stories have surfaced how people are bullied into answering ridiculous questions like proving his/her relation with the sponsoring relative in Dubai (which have been proven during the notarization of the Affidavit), show money (cash on hand), ATM cards, Credit cards, certificate of employment in the Philippines, etc.

It’s worth mentioning AGAIN that: this Affidavit of Support that entails a lot of trouble to get is NOT required when one enters Dubai.

It’s not uncommon to hear stories that some travelers have resorted to paying immigration officers bribe money just to pass through the airport freely.

While I don’t condone paying these corrupt officials who trample the constitution’s RIGHT TO TRAVEL, I could not blame the people entirely. Desperate job seekers* sacrifice a few thousand pesos for a hassle-free travel out, thinking of long term greener pastures waiting for them abroad. It’s just blatantly wrong!

Today, UAE national paper Gulf News published an article about the silly ‘offloading policy‘ imposed at Philippine airports that is not only illogical but unconstitutional as well. The term ‘offloading’ itself is outrageous – this happens after you’ve checked in your bags! Sometimes even when you’re already in the pre-departure area with passport stamped cleared for travel.

Offloaded passengers have been reaching out to me via the blog post which they found in Google while searching for answers to their woes and I have answered most of their queries with the information that I know. I am glad there is an advisory as to where to formally submit the complaints, from Gulf News:

Advisory

If you had been victimized by alleged corrupt officials in Philippines airports, please email the Filcom-DNE through matilynbagunu@yahoo.com or alan_1010@yahoo.com to submit the following documents:

  • Copy of boarding pass.
  • Exit stamp in the Philippines showing the control number and initials/signature of the BI officer.
  • Original passport (with bearer).
  • Sworn statement.

I really hope this issue is sorted out the soonest. It is disgusting that a country who ‘uplifts’ Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) as the new heroes, helping the country’s frail economy with the dollar remittances coming from abroad is actually being anti-OFW with this baseless, non-sensical ‘offloading policy’.

* It’s a common knowledge that employers in Dubai entertain job seekers on tourist visa then transfer it to employment visa once they are accepted for the job.

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