Migrante International today criticized the policy by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai requiring visit visa holders to submit an affidavit of support (AOS) as a travel requirement.
"Why is the Philippine consulate imposing this requirement when it is not even required by the Dubai government? It is another added cost and inconvenience to our OFWs and their visiting relatives," said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Martinez said that the new requirement is another money-making scheme as OFWs have to pay for the application of the AOS. "Mukhang panibagong porma na naman ito ng kotong sa ating mga OFW, especially now that the holiday seasons are approaching and relatives are expected to visit."
He said that the Philippine consulate's measures to prevent illegal entry of the Filipinos in Dubai should not be at any added cost to OFWs. "That is their job and they have to accomplish it without any extra expense imposed on our OFWs."
OFWs in Dubai have since expressed protests against the issuance of the red-ribboned notarized AOS by the two PH diplomatic missions in the UAE.
Migrante-UAE secretary-general Nhel Morona claims that the document has bred corruption among Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents stationed in exit points in the Philippines. "We have received complaints from fellow OFWs whose relatives said they were made to pay P15,000 (Dhs 1,363) and P30,000 (Dhs 2,727) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) despite their presentation of the AOS," Morona said.
"We are for the protection of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) not for collection and arbitrary fee impositions," he said.
Martinez, meanwhile, said that the imposition is not welcome to OFWs in light of the budget cut on funds for direct OFW services in the proposed 2012 budget.
Migrante International is opposing budget cuts on direct services for OFWs in concerned agencies including the DFA. In the proposed P1.8 trillion budget, direct services for OFWs in concerned government agencies will only amount to not more than P3.14 billion or only 0.17 % of the total budget, or a per capita spending of P261.83. Funds for direct services for OFWs in concerned agencies were slashed by approximately P792 million. ######