DUBAI // Filipino community organisations should consider doing their bit for their compatriots in the Emirates but their efforts must go beyond handouts, a migrant rights' group in Dubai said.
"Assistance should not be confined to a few organisations or individuals," said Yuri Cipriano, the vice-chairman of Migrante-UAE, an organisation created to protect Filipinos overseas. "We should conduct regular visits to Filipinos in detention centres and follow up their cases with our diplomats."
His comments come after Migrante-UAE was named as chairman organisation of the new rights and welfare committee that covers Dubai and the Northern Emirates. It will look into cases of labour contract violations, illegal recruitment, trafficking of Filipinos, and the problems of household workers not covered by labour law.
The group is preparing for a meeting on migrant issues next month between the community and Filipino diplomats. The meetings will be held once every three months.
To mark International Migrants Day on December 18, the committee will organise a forum on the history of migration and a film on the plight of Filipino migrants worldwide.
It also will invite Filipino consulate and labour officials in Dubai to a monthly "case conference" to follow up on overseas Filipino workers.
"Migrante-UAE will head the committee for a year but we will come up with a long-term programme for overseas Filipino workers in the Emirates," Mr Cipriano said.
Two Filipino Muslim groups in Dubai, the Bangsa Moro Labour Organisation and the Maranao Community (Marcom), are members of the committee.
Other organisations include the Zabeel International Filipino Association for Professional Development, Samahan ng mga Kababayan and the Philippine Guardians Brotherhood.
Robert Ramos, the former chairman of the Filipino organising committee in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, had announced plans to create the committee at the first migrants' forum in Dubai on June 18.
The new chairman, Analiza Magno Concepcion, agreed to form the committee. She replaced Mr Ramos after representatives from community organisations held their elections in Dubai last month.
"I'm glad that we're pushing through with this initiative," Mr Ramos said. "We need more community organisations to be involved to ensure that workers' rights are protected."