Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates have been warned not to flee the country to escape unpaid debts.
According to a news report by Gulf News, Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said as many as 20 former Filipino residents in the UAE have beeb arrested due to failure to pay their loans and other debts during the first five months of 2016.
The Filipinos were arrested during transit through Dubai to or from Dubai or within the Gulf region. Cortes added that even a new passport would not prevent debtors from detection.
“The moment you fly via any airline that transits in the UAE or GCC country, you can get flagged by the Immigration,” he said. “Your name is already in the system.
“Just because you have a new passport does not mean your name is no longer in the system. Remember your details are still the same, your name, place and date of birth, face, [fingerprints], all of that are still the same.”
Those arrested had unpaid debts dating back as far as 10 years ago, an officer of the Assistance-To-Nationals section of the Consulate handling the cases said.
“All of them had previous employment in the UAE and transferred elsewhere. Many of them thought they did not have any pending cases.
“Most of the outstanding debts were small amounts like Dh10,000. But there were two [Filipinos] who had loans of between Dh100,000 and Dh150,000,” the official said.
According to officials, debt is one of the top issues affecting Filipinos in the UAE. In fact, the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila has twice issued an advisory warning Filipinos against applying for loans and using credit cards they cannot pay. The advisories were issued as an ‘alarming increase in the number of Filipinos detained due to unpaid loans’.
“Please spend within your means,” Cortes said. “This is not our country, so please respect and follow their laws.”