Offloading of Dubai-bound Filipinos at NAIA ‘infringement’ on right to travel

Estimated read time 8 min read

[vc_row el_class=”container section”][vc_column el_class=”row”][vc_row_inner el_class=”row”][vc_column_inner][expatmedia-landing-article title=”landing article”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner el_class=”col-md-8 “][vc_column_inner el_class=”col-md-8″][expatmedia-article-content body_text=”Nothing, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt.

Consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis.” byline=”Expat Media” caption=”At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.” credits=”ARCHIVE”]

Offloading of Dubai-bound Filipinos at NAIA ‘infringement’ on right to travel

 

DUBAI – A group of Filipinos took to social media to call out the “unfair” offloading of Filipino travelers, mostly Dubai-bound, by officers of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Dozens of Filipinos were reported to have been offloaded or denied travel in recent weeks, with an industry expert telling Expatmedia.net that the percentage of Filipino travelers offloaded from international flights were as high as 80 percent. According to BI, offloaded travelers either have “inconsistencies” in their travel plan or don’t have enough supporting documents.

However, affected travelers insist it is just immigration officers “playing God” in the screening process.

“No immigration officer should play ‘God’ especially to OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) who have full and legal documents,” Rachelle R (full name withheld) shared on the Facebook group Pinoy UAE Usapang Flight and Visa, which has more than 80,000 members.

“The Philippines needs to abolish this policy, which is against the constitution,” said Shawn L (full name withheld) on the Facebook group Stop the Injustice – Bureau of Immigration NAIA, which has 2,600 members. Members of both groups have shared their personal stories of “unjust” offloading of travelers at NAIA.

In a previous media interview, former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales reminded the BI to be careful in offloading passengers since Filipinos have a constitutional right to travel. Rosales added that there should be enough evidence before the BI stops an individual from leaving the country.

‘Right to travel is constitutional right’

Barney Almazar of the UAE-based legal consultancy firm Gulf Law, told Expatmedia.net that balance must be established when implementing the screening process for Filipino travelers.

“The right to travel is a constitutional right which a citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law and only on clear and compelling grounds of national security, public health and public safety,” Almazar said.

“What are the criteria used by Philippine immigration officers to determine if a traveler should be offloaded? Of course, if the passport or visa is fake, they can legally stop the traveler. But if the traveler is offloaded simply because he looks poor, most likely to overstay, or will find a job abroad (which is legally allowed in the UAE), these are not constitutional grounds to restrict free movement,” he told Expatmedia.net.

The Filipino lawyer said that personal bias should not have a place in the screening process. “If the traveler is a rich person, that does not mean that he will not look for a job opportunity abroad. So, effectively, the poor is prohibited to leave the country while the rich is not, while both hold the same tourist visa,” he added.

“If the UAE government grants you a visa, it only means you have satisfied their entry requirements,” Almazar concluded.

He also pointed out the requirement for travelers to secure an exit pass or Overseas Employment Contract (OEC) before they can leave the Philippines.

“The requirement to secure an exit pass or OEC is an infringement on a Filipino’s right to travel,” Almazar said, “The only valid requirements to travel outside Philippines are passport and visa. It is up to the host country if they need proof that you have capacity to support yourself during your visit— like the United States does, which is very strict when it comes to issuing a visa.”

“We need to balance the government’s right to protect its people and the people’s right to travel and look for jobs abroad,” said Almazar, named by Asian Legal Business as probono practitioner of the year for Middle East in 2021 and listed by Thomson Reuters as one of the Super 50 lawyers in the Middle East and North Africa.

‘Traumatic experience’

Social media user Rachelle shared how her mother underwent a “very traumatic experience” after immigration officers initially refused to let her mother board her flight back to Dubai for not having an updated Overseas Employment Contract. After “increased tension and panic”, her mother was later asked to get clearance from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s Labour Assistance Center, which allowed her to board her flight just in time.

Others, however, were not as lucky, including nine Filipinos offloaded from their flight to Dubai last March 27. They were denied boarding of their flight after allegedly failing to convince immigration staff of their reason for traveling to Dubai, one of the travelers told Expatmedia.net. Some were asked to show a multitude of supporting documents, including SSS and Pag-ibig records.

In a report in 24 Oras, an immigration officer said most passengers who are offloaded are those bound for Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand where there are high incidents of human trafficking.

NAIA Immigration Officer Dennis Opiña was quoted as saying that Dubai is the most common destination of Filipinos who want to illegally work overseas, and warned that undocumented Filipinos are more prone to abuse.

BI former commissioner Siegfred Mison said in a previous interview that “offloading is not a policy but a consequence of the implementation of the guidelines” regarding departure formalities for Filipinos traveling overseas.

The rules are in line with the Philippines’ anti-trafficking laws, according to BI. “Requirements to be asked from travelers are also based on their respective [travel] purposes,” according to BI.

“Tourists must prove their financial capability for the trip, present proof of work or support in the Philippines, or submit an affidavit of support if they are visiting relatives overseas, to prevent being offloaded from flights,” according to BI. PIA/ICA/Expat Media


For all the latest news from the UAE and the world, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube page

Barney can be contacted at barney@gulflaw.info[/expatmedia-article-content][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner][expatmedia-related-posts enable_pagination=”no” layout=”2-col” posts_query=”size:6|order_by:date|post_type:post|categories:67″ title=”MORE PHILIPPINES STORIES” thumb_size=”expatmedia-post-thumbnail”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner el_class=”col-md-4″][vc_column_inner][expatmedia-latest-posts read_more_text=”Read more →” posts_query=”size:10|order_by:date|post_type:post” title=”LATEST NEWS”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner el_class=”border-box border-box-mwidth business–popular-ad”][expatmedia-guides-posts posts_query=”size:3|order_by:date|post_type:post|categories:67″ title=”POPULAR IN PHILIPPINES”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][expatmedia-subscription title=”Subscribe”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner el_class=”border-box border-box-mwidth business–popular-ad”][expatmedia-guides-posts page_link=”http://expatmedia.net/guides/” posts_query=”size:3|order_by:date|post_type:post|categories:2″ title=”Guides”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner][svc_social_stream twitter_type=”@” twitter_num=”4″ skin_type=”template” grid_columns_count_for_desktop=”vcyt-col-md-12″ grid_columns_count_for_tablet=”vcyt-col-sm-12″ grid_columns_count_for_mobile=”vcyt-col-xs-12″ excerpt_length=”150″ loadmore=”no” title=”Twitter Post” twitter_id=”ExpatMediaUAE”][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

You May Also Like

More Stories

+ There are no comments

Add yours