DUBAI – Philippine officials clarified rumors of Filipinos being given amnesty by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government.
Stories have been circulated within the community that Pinoys now can be forgiven certain crimes committed in the country. This would mean, individuals who have committed an illegal act in a host country can be pardoned and be sent back home to their home country.
Debunking the rumor, Philippine Labor Attache Felicitas Bay told Kabayan Weekly that there were no truth to the stories being spread around about Filipinos getting an amnesty, especially for overstaying Filipinos in the country.
“An amnesty is issued and granted by the host government. It is not at the initiative of a certain country. If the host government, like the UAE, will grant an amnesty, it will apply to all those overstaying. It will not be limited to a certain group of nationals,” she added.
She gave an example of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) which granted amnesty for its overstaying aliens in the country earlier this year.
It led thousands of immigrants, including Filipinos, who were stuck in the country for many years be able to return home to their countries.
For his part, Philippine Consul General, Paul Raymund Cortes revealed that the rumors were not true.
“There is no amnesty as of yet. The [UAE] government has not announced any sort and the rumors circulating are just baseless and unfounded,” he concluded.
In April, hundreds of Filipinos were granted amnesty by the government of KSA, according to a cnnphilippines.com report.
Under the nation’s “A Nation Without Illegal Expatriates” campaign, Filipinos who held expired visas or residence permits have been given the chance to go back home to the Philippines with the transportation expenses such as international and domestic flights covered by the KSA government.
Lawyer Cezar Chavez, officer-in-charge of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s Repatriation and Assistance Division, said that those who were granted the amnesty would no longer face penalties or cases from their previous employers and could go back to KSA if they wanted to.
Before departing for his Middle Eastern trip in April, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte promised to bring home overseas Filipinos who were stranded in their host countries.
“By the time mag-land ako pauwi, kasama ko na ang mga undocumented at illegal … They will all be ferried home. Ang first batch niyan, pag landing ko sa Davao, nandoon yung eroplano, dala sila. And we will continue to do that,” he was quoted as saying in the report.