x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Philippine government offices move under one roof

Three Philippine government offices are moving to a villa in Al Bateen tomorrow, providing services to expatriates, employers and investors.

ABU DHABI // Three Philippine government offices are moving to a villa in Al Bateen tomorrow, providing services to expatriates, employers and investors under one roof. The Philippine embassy and the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre were previously on Al Falah Street, while the Philippine overseas labour office was housed in a villa near the Ministry of Social Affairs building close to Al Nahyan Camp. The offices are closed today for the transfer.

The new address of the embassy and the two other offices is Villa no 8, street no 8, sector 94, Zone 2 in Al Bateen. The website www.philembassy.ae has a location map and directions on how to get there by public and private transport. "We decided to bring all these main offices together to make it more convenient for the community to visit us," said Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE. "It will serve as a one-stop shop for everyone."

The move follows the establishment of a "Country Team Bayanihan" of government officials headed by Ms Princesa. The members are Adelio Cruz, the consul-general; Jojie Dinsay, the commercial attache; Nasser Munder, the labour attache, and other embassy, labour and welfare officers in Abu Dhabi. "Bayanihan" is derived from two Filipino words: bayani, meaning hero, and bayan, meaning nation. In a wider sense, it refers to helping people in times of need and the spirit of leadership, volunteerism and a sense of unity.

"It [the move] will strengthen the co-operation among the main offices," said Ms Princesa. "This is in keeping with the concept of a one-country team approach." The 110 Filipinas staying at a shelter at the Philippine overseas labour office will take up temporary residence inside the new villa at the new location until they go home to the Philippines, according to Mr Munder. The women have all fled their employers' homes after complaining of lack of food and sleep and being overworked and often unpaid for months. Many do not have air tickets to return home, while others are waiting to retrieve their passports from their employers.

While the installation of the new telephone and fax lines is under way, the public can contact the embassy on 050 813 7836 or e-mail auhpe@philembassy.ae. The Philippine overseas labour office can be reached at 050 718 6535 and polo1@emirates.net.ae. Nearly 600,000 Filipinos live in the UAE, accounting for 12 per cent of the country's population, according to the 2008 stock estimate of Commission on Filipinos Overseas in Manila. About 120,000 of them are in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

rruiz@thenational.ae