A symposium highlighting the importance of spreading awareness on the cultural differences between the UAE and the Philippines shed light on common misperceptions of Filipino expatriates recently at Al Safa Gymnasium.
A joint initiative by the Philippine Consulate-General in Dubai and the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, the symposium was titled “Be A Cause: Recapturing the Cultural and Historical Values of the Past and Promoting them in the Future”
Dr Omar Mohammed Al Khateeb, Assistant Director-General for Islamic Affairs, opened the symposium. It served as an eye-opener to all, especially with the prevalent cases challenging the moral standard of many expatriates living away from their families.
The grand mufti, Dr Mohammed Ayada Al Khobaisi, lectured on the do’s and don’ts and the laws and traditions of the UAE, as well as the obligations of the Filipino workers and expatriates.
His lecture also touched on the morality that must be observed by men and women, the appropriate behaviour of couples in public places, and good manners and right conduct in general.
He also emphasised that there is nothing extraordinary in what is generally observed in the UAE and that most of these are plain commonsense.
Fr. Tom Veneracion of the Roman Catholic Church lectured in the same vein to elaborate on issues surrounding life away from home, the responsibilities of families left in the Philippines and a person’s moral and spiritual responsibilities.
Consul-General Benito Valeria no talked on the role of the Philippine Foreign Service and the Filipino workers.
Vice-Consul Edwin Gil Mendoza provided information on Philippines-UAE economic relations while Vice-Consul Geronimo Suliguin explained what it is to be a Foreign Service Officer.
Students of The Philippine School (TPS) attended a workshop on how to become part of the advocacy group as a family member, a student, member of the society and a child of an expatriate.
At the end of the workshop, a covenant was signed by the youth to promote and protect the image of Filipino women. Balagtasan, traditional Filipino dances, and rendition of Filipino songs were also held as part of the programme.