Philippine Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Paul Raymund Cortes (middle) along with the honorees. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
A total of $3,100,000.00 Filipino taxpayers’ money equivalent to Dhs11,387,230.00 or Php158,541,480.87 were used by the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB) to assist 24,150 distressed Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates for the entire 2018.
Being distressed means in dire need of legal assistance and/or as a result of untoward or unforeseen conditions.
Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes released the data on Tuesday afternoon when he and Deputy Consul General Renato Duenas Jr. presented to the media two of the diplomatic post’s officers recognized by Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for their exemplary dedication and commitment to their duties and responsibilities in 2018.
The two PCGDXB officers honoured at the DFA’s 121st founding anniversary held on June 26, 2019 in Pasay City, Metro Manila were Jennifer Pimentel (Best Employee) and Sheila Mupas (Best Assistance to Nationals-ATN- Employee among three other awardees).
Moreover, the entire PCGDXB-ATN Section which Vice Consul Marianne Bringas heads, was decided on by a DFA special committee, as the “Best ATN Team” from among 80 Philippine foreign posts across the globe for the entire 2018.
At the “120th DFA Founding Anniversary” held in June 23, 2018, PCGDXB was cited as the “Best Organization for 2017” as President Duterte conferred on Cortes the “Gawad Mabini-Dakilang Kamanong or Grand Cross,” one of the major respects bestowed on a Philippine diplomat.
It has been two years for Mupas at the PCGDXB from the DFA (Manila)-Consular Affairs Department.
Assigned as ATN-Undocumented Filipinos in-charge, she is responsible for all the assistance requirements rendered to all Filipinos who have come to the UAE, particularly those residing in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujeirah on visit or tourist visas; and for some reason or the other have found themselves in deep quagmire due to labour-related concerns namely contract substitution, maltreatment and all forms of abuse by the employer and even recruitment/manpower agency officials and personnel.
Mupas expressed hope that Filipinos back home and in the UAE would have the heart not to put any of their countrymen in any form of situation or circumstance as a result of the abuse and mis-use of the visit/tourist visa.
She expressed hope that any Filipino wishing to live and work abroad must be enlightened enough to know that the safest way for them to do so is through legitimate means because any shortcuts or circumvention of laws would lead them down the drain.
“I sometimes get affected by the seriousness of their situations. But I have to be strong before them so they would be encouraged to stand up again.”
Deployed at the PCGDXB since five years back, it was in 2017 and during her second assignment from 2015 at the Consular Section that Pimentel had thought of implementing a civil registry innovation specifically those of reports of birth and reports of death.Pimentel thought o f innovating, having herself experienced being weighed down with the referencing and search for these documents that let her give copies to clients over a week from the time of request.
With the help of PCGDXB IT experts, there is now an electronic database system shortening the release of requested copies within a day or two.
ATN Section head Vice Consul Marianne Bringas was thankful for the likes of Mupas, DFA’s 2017 Best ATN Employee Marco Flores and the rest of the ATN personnel.
“Consul General Cortes has continually pushed us to be more pro-active and understanding. We will continually stand up to the challenges we face,” she said.
PCGDXB-ATN Section functions alongside the chosen legal retainer Sara Advocates & Legal Consultants whose assigned lawyer to the Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates is Atty. Eisa Khalife.
Philippine Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Paul Raymund Cortes on Sunday evening thanked the UAE government and other UAE homegrown organisations for making the 121st anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence momentous and memorable.
It was the last weekend of the month-long overseas voting and Filipinos on Friday and Saturday continually flowed in and flocked to the two Philippine diplomatic missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and two satellite centres, ahead of the May 13 (Monday) mid-term elections back home.
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