Dubai: Filipina expatriate Clysa, 28, went to the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Dubai last week to collect her passport. She was, however, initially denied entry because the security guard said she was wearing a pair of sandals.
The guard pointed out to Clysa an advisory posted at the entrance of the PCG enumerating the dress code for visitors and clients. Those wearing spaghetti straps, tube or tank tops; short skirts or hanging tops; shirts with no sleeves and plunging necklines; low-waist pants or ripped jeans; and slippers or sandals that expose the toes, will be denied entry.
Clysa came wearing a pair of jeans and floral shirt with sleeves; and because of the hot summer weather, she opted to come in a pair of flip-flops. She was already at the Consulate door – collecting the passport would just take a couple of minutes and returning home in Sharjah to change her footwear would cost her more time and money for transport.
Clysa’s experience was not an isolated case. Filipinos who were not aware of the dress code were routinely barred entry at the Philippine Consulate.
When Gulf News did a story in 2012, the then Philippine Consul General to Dubai Benito Valeriano had said the dress code was put in place in line with the rules of the (Philippine) Department of Foreign Affairs that first implemented the regulations in Manila in May 2010. “I’ve observed that some Filipinos who come to the consulate have complete disregard for the institution. They come in ‘puruntong’ (Bermuda shorts) and flip-flops. They wouldn’t wear that kind of dress while visiting other government institutions,” Valeriano said.
But Filipinos like Clysa have also appealed for some leniency, especially in consideration of the hot climate during summer months, when wearing sandals would be more comfortable. She said: “I came in decent clothes. It was just that I wore sandals.”
When Gulf News sought the comments of current Philippine Consul-General Renato N. Dueñas, Jr, he said: “The dress code policy for clients in government offices in the Philippines has been in place and enforced in all Philippine Foreign Service Posts, including the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai. However, in consideration of the local climate and comfort of our clients, the Consulate shall henceforth exercise leniency with regard to its policy on footwear.
“Meanwhile, the existing dress code policy for clients shall remain enforced,” Dueñas underlined.
“We will advise our guards to be more lenient with regards to footwear but we want to underline decency in clothing,” added another consul.
This means visitors and clients of the PCG can now enter wearing sandals and flip-flops but must wear proper attire.
Clysa hailed the move and said it was also the best way to end the ‘shoes for rent’ racket outside the Consulate premises.