MANILA, Sept. 28, 2011—Filipino migrant workers’ organizations in the United Arab Emirates will intensify its campaign against the ‘Affidavit of Support’ (AOS) being implemented by Philippine Embassy in Dubai as it was allegedly a form of a “legalized” extortion.
Migrante Middle East (ME) regional coordinator John Leonard C. Monterona in a statement said, the AOS will never ever stop human trafficking, neither it would protect the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) kin from abuses when they land in UAE; rather, it would just be another moneymaking scheme for some corrupt Embassy and Philippine Immigration personnel.
Migrante-UAE secretary-general Nhel Morona also said in a statement there were reports from the field that there were Immigration officials who are using the AOS in order to extort from kin of and from the OFWs themselves.
“Last May, we received a report that some passengers on visitor visa from Manila to Dubai boarded in Cathay Pacific flight via Hong Kong, were allegedly asked to pay grease money by immigration officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). A Filipina nurse, formerly working in Dubai, has allegedly been forced to give P25,000 (around Dh2, 174) to agents of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Ninoy Aquino International Airport so she could fly back to Dubai on a visitor visa. Another case was an OFW engineer bound to Dubai was also forced to provide P28,000 (roughly equivalent to 2,435 dirham) just to be allowed to proceed on his flight despite presenting an ‘Affidavit of Support’ executed by his cousin which was signed by a Philippine consul in Dubai,” Morona said.
For Monterona, the AOS requirement violates a Filipino’s right to travel, as stipulated by the Article 3, Section 6 of the Philippine Constitution, unless the competent authorities would prove that one’s travel can endanger the public’s safety, health and the country’s security.
“The AoS requirement may violates one’s freedom to travel as guaranteed by the PH Constitution Bill of Rights, unless the authorities could prove that it is on the interest of public safety, public health or as national security concern,” Monterona averred.
Monterona also insists that the AOS is not included newly amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.
“The arbitrary imposition of AOS requirement is condemnable and must be scrap immediately,” Monterona said. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)