Dr. Omar AbdulAziz Al Muthanna, CEO, Regulatory and Licensing Sector of CDA, presents the licence to Filipino social Club headed by Ericson P. Reyes, President (third from right). Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A social club for Filipinos by Filipinos may now legally operate in Dubai after securing a licence from Dubai’s Community Development Authority (CDA).

The Filipino Social Club (FilSoc) became the first licensed social club for Filipino expatriates in Dubai under CDA. The authority regulates and provides licensing services to non-profit civil society organisations that organise ongoing social, cultural, artistic or entertainment activities.

According to Executive Council Resolution No 4 of 2011, social clubs or organisations in Dubai cannot operate secretly and without a licence to ensure the quality of services based on CDA guidelines. Those who violate the law risk getting prosecuted. CDA has strictly implemented this rule since 2014.

Dr Omar Abdul Aziz Al Muthanna, CEO, Regulatory and Licensing Sector of CDA, handed over the licence to FilSoc’s founding members led by its President Ericson P. Reyes recently at the CDA headquarters.

“A licence is a tool given to empower communities that wish to deliver social services. Our goal is not limited to merely giving a licence. Our success lies in playing the role of the catalyst for social innovation. We set the playing field by creating standards and frameworks that promote creative thinking and innovative solutions,” Dr Al Muthanna said.

He explained that only applicants who “demonstrate competency in managing the organisation may be licensed”. Among the criteria CDA looks at are the organisation’s structure, board members, location, innovation, smart services, and sustainability.

“Licensed associations are encouraged to move away from short-termed, bubbled-pop solutions that rarely impact the lives of the beneficiaries and to start providing more sustainable programs,” Dr Al Muthanna said.

FilSoc envisions to be the organisation of all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who would like to participate in non-profit community services through social, cultural, sports, welfare, entertainment-related activities.

“We are now authorised to conduct community events and gatherings in Dubai for the benefit of the community. We will also collaborate with other licensed social groups in the greater expatriate community of Dubai,” Reyes, 33, a banker, told Gulf News.

“We will have clear targets as to what we are going to do, how we are going to serve the community, and on how we are going collaborate with other CDA-regulated social clubs; and we are free to make decisions in supporting some programmes of the Philippine Consulate-General and especially the host government of Dubai,” he said.

Twelve founding members and former leaders of Filipino community groups have committed to serve through the social club. They are Ericson Reyes (President), Cesar Mora (Vice President), Jomana Mohammed (Secretary), Orandantes Delizo (Treasurer), Olympia Pineda (Auditor), Arthur Lawrence Los Baños (PRO), Wendell Castro (Board Member), Gina Salazar (Board Member), Ahmad Al Matrooshi (Board Member), Matilyn Bagunu (Founding Member), Marilyn Roscales Kasimieh (Founding Member), and Alan Bacason (Adviser & Legal Representative).