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United Global Filipinos had raised thousands of dirhams for pandemic-hit Filipinos in the UAE, as part of its community efforts Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A new community organisation is urging Filipino expats in the UAE to represent the Philippines with pride and honour.

The United Global Filipinos had its official oath taking ceremony in the capital on November 5 in the presence of Philippines Ambassador to the UAE, Hjayceelyn Quintana. The organisation’s president Elmer Casao told Gulf News that it aims to have its members represent the Filipino community in various official capacities.

Global Filipino

“Being a global Filipino brings with it a duty as a citizen of the Philippines who is living overseas. We must represent our country with pride, and as our ambassador has said, we become ‘ambassadors’ of our country the moment we present our passports. This places on us a responsibility to familiarise ourselves with the laws of the host country, and be role models,” Casao said.

There are about 700,000 Filipino expats living and working in the UAE and the new organisation hopes to attract large segments of the community. It will be managed by the 14 officers who took the oath to handle various interests.

Representing the community

The organisation was unofficially set up in 2020 as a community group to represent diverse interests.

“There are a number of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) communities in the UAE, but many of are dedicated to certain professions or interests. We hope to appeal to people across interests and professions,” Casao said.

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Efforts thus far

While the organisation’s activities have thus far been limited in anticipation of its official oath taking, members have already supported a number of Filipino expats in the community. Casao said the organisation raised at least Dh7,200 during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to supply essentials to expats who had lost their jobs or were suffering from ill health.

“We will also constantly partner with the Embassy of Philippines to support community initiatives, just as we participated in the recent celebrations marking 48 years of Filipino-Emirati relations,” Casao added.