DUBAI // Filipinos in the UAE who are facing problems at work or seeking new jobs can now turn to a new group of human resources professionals for guidance. Alan Bacason, the president of the Filipino Human Resources Practitioners' Association, which refers to itself as Fil-HR, said the group intends to act as a "conduit" between Filipino workers and the UAE Ministry of Labour. It will also look into labour-related issues and problems such as unpaid salaries.
"I'd like our group, which is recognised by the Philippine government, to represent the workers with labour-related concerns," he said. "At the moment, Filipino workers contact the ministry for help. We'd like to establish a link with the labour ministry." Nearly 600,000 Filipinos live and work in the Emirates, accounting for 12 per cent of the country's population, according to the 2008 estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas in Manila.
Fil-HR, which is accredited by the Philippine embassy and the consulate, would initially focus on helping its members gain knowledge and implement the global best practices in HR, Mr Bacason said. It joins a separate push by community groups, who are working on a concept paper due next month, for a rights and welfare committee that would help prevent abuse of Filipinos in the country. Florendo Padilla, 28, a recruitment consultant at Manpower Professional in Abu Dhabi, said the group hoped to prevent cases of illegal recruitment.
"The Fil-HR could provide the information on the recruitment process to Filipinos in the UAE, and they could pass this on to their relatives back home who wish to come over," he said. Fil-HR's first general assembly will take place on Friday when members will share their knowledge on UAE labour laws and future trends in HR, according to Mr Bacason. Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE, will lead the oath-taking of the group's officers and members at the meeting at the Holiday Inn Express in Dubai.
Mr Bacason, 46, who works as an assistant manager specialising in benefits and compensation at Dubai Maritime City Authority, has been working in the Emirates for the past seven years. Last April, he joined 11 other HR professionals to establish Fil-HR, which has since grown to 75 members. In addition to legal consultants, Mr Bacason said they would also reach out to doctors to cover health and safety aspects in the workplace, and employees at insurance firms who are handling medical and life insurance.
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