THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY IN DUBAI AND THE NORTHERN EMIRATES
The Filipino Community in Dubai and Northern Emirates, based on personal accounts of Filipino expatriates who are long-time Dubai residents, came into existence in the early 80's after the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi was formally opened in 17 June 1980).
Under the auspices of the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the first group of Filipino community leaders was composed of professionals and business people who conducted various social activities in Dubai and the Northern Emirates including the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day (PID).
On 06 April 2004, the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Dubai, headed by then Consul General Generoso DG Calonge, officially opened its doors to the Filipino community. The PCG later became the point of contact of the Filipino community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Consul General Calonge was succeeded by Consul General Antonio Curameng, and then by Consul General Benito Valeriano. ConGen Valeriano supported the further formalization of the Filipino Community structure with the drafting and subsequent adoption of the Constitution and By Laws (CBL) of the Filipino Community known officially as the Filipino Community-Dubai and the Northern Emirates (FilCom DNE) in 2011. From 2011 to 2012, FilCom DNE membership reached a total of 85 organizations and clubs.
Since its creation, there have only been two (2) successful elections of FilCom DNE officers, after which FilCom DNE went into a hiatus due to the new rules imposed by the Dubai government authorities which required registration and accreditation of all expatriate groups/clubs.
Consul General Valeriano was succeeded by Consul General Frank Cimafranca who then promoted the creation in 2014 of an ad hoc group to lead the PID celebration as the FilCom DNE was still in a hiatus following its initial attempt to secure government accreditation.
In early 2015, the Dubai government began requiring the PCG to secure permits for all official activities and functions.
In June 2015, Consul General Paul Raymund P Cortes assumed his post and subsequently sustained the push for the registration/accreditation of Filipino Community organizations, leading to the reinvigoration in membership, which now stands at close to 70 organizations and clubs.
New organizations which aspire to seek the voluntary accreditation/registration must submit a Letter of Request; copy of the signed Constitution and by-Laws; list of duly elected officers and members with contact numbers; membership forms (for officers and members) stating U.A.E. and Philippine contact details with attached ID photo and copy of passport and Emirates ID; calendar of activities and a financial report, if available.
Following the PID celebration in 2014 organized by the ad hoc body composed of FilCom leaders, the Consulate General once again led the organization of another ad hoc body in early 2015 for the same purpose.
After the 2015 PID, the same ad hoc body was tasked to organize the Bayanihan Festival, a one-day Filipino family celebration of the UAE National Day and year-end festivity held on 04 December 2015 at Al Mamzar Park, Dubai and attended by close to 10,000 guests and participants.
Both the 2015 PID and Bayanihan Festival included a Job Fair for Filipinos in Dubai who were looking for new employment opportunities. The Bayanihan Festival also included a parade of drums and lyres from different Filipino Schools, a mini-bazaar, exhibition performances, talent contests, sporting events, and a special participation of select Filipino artist.