Filipinos are not just guests or temporary residents in the UAE but are also collaborative partners in nation-building and are important to the country.
This message was delivered by the Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes to around 150 leaders of the Filipino expat community who assembled at a special forum held in cooperation with the Dubai Police, on Saturday.
Various community issues were discussed at the event such as illegal drugs, cases of immorality, proper use of social media, new traffic rules, and campaign against human trafficking as well as the promotion of Dubai Police smart services.
“We held this forum because we have to constantly and earnestly remind our kababayans (compatriots) what are allowed and not allowed in the UAE. We are not just guests or transient residents in the UAE but the authorities look at us as partners in creating a tolerant, peaceful and an economically productive country. With this forum we want to spread information to as many Filipinos as possible the important aspect of being active partners and not just passive guests of this country,” said Cortes
He emphasized that ignorance of the UAE laws is not an excuse. “Every UAE resident has to be aware of local laws such as against immorality, illegal drugs, non-tolerance of sexual relations outside of marriage as well as laws governing the use of social media.”
At the meeting held at a hotel in Deira, police officials took turns in discussing various issues. Lt Col Juma Ali Al Rahroom from the criminal investigation department urged leaders of the Filipino community to report any case of human trafficking.
Use social media properly
Major Saud Mohammed Khalfan from the electronic investigation department talked about the proper use of social media. He said the Dubai residents should be aware of what they post online as the country has strict laws against cyber crimes and abusive use of the internet.
The new traffic rules and regulations were discussed by First Sergeant Ahmad Mohammad Khalaf. He said that although fines have become heftier, “our (Dubai Police) aim is your safety and not your penalty.”
Khalaf also talked about how to report cases of road accidents. He said that a simple vehicular accident can now be filed with the Dubai Police in three minutes by filing it online or reporting to the police by calling 901.
Immorality was another important issue discussed at the forum.
First Lieutenant Fawziya Mubarak discussed the problem of having a child out of wedlock. She said anyone who is guilty of this offence will face imprisonment of not more than one year and will be deported.
Meanwhile, Cortes urged the leaders of various Filipino organisations to spread what was discussed at the forum to other members.
Paolo Alforte, president of United Cebuanos-UAE, told Khaleej Times that the “forum was an eye-opener and very interesting since most of the Filipinos living here aren’t really aware of the laws set by the country”.