UAE Filipino council hopes to allay concerns over funds' misuse

The leaders of 80 community groups in Dubai and the Northern Emirates have been invited to meet and discuss the financial reports of a governing council.

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DUBAI // The president of the Filipino community’s governing council hopes a gathering of groups tomorrow will put to rest concerns that funds have been misused.

The leaders of 80 community groups have been invited to a meeting of the council to discuss matters including its financial report, forming a disaster co-ordination committee and other proposed projects.

Some community leaders have been asking the new officers of FilCom, an umbrella organisation of Filipino community groups in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, to release financial reports from the terms of the former chairs Alan Bacason and Analiza Magno Concepcion.

“We can assure the public of financial transparency and accountability,” said the chairwoman Matilyn Bagunu, who represents St Mary’s Filipino Community Choir in the governing council and was elected on August 24.

Albert Suerte, president of the Overseas Filipino Civil Engineers Association and a critic of the new council, has claimed there have been financial irregularities this year.

“They have a lot of explaining to do in terms of expenditures,” he said.

“We also want the grievance committee to address our complaint letter as soon as possible.”

Karen Tanedo, chairwoman of the rights group Migrante UAE, said her group supported calls for transparency.

“But we choose not to join in the mess,” Ms Tanedo said. “We are more concerned about whether or not a portion of the funds is used for the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers here.”

Ms Bagunu said: “If they want financial transparency, they’ll get it. We’re not trying to hide anything from the community.”

Letty Maniaul of the Filipino Dubai Teachers’ Association, treasurer for the two previous councils, will present the financial reports.

“The financial report has been a major cause of disagreements within the FilCom,” said Mr Bacason. “We expect this to be addressed at the general assembly.”

Community leaders are welcome to ask questions at an open forum. The meeting will be held at the Dream Palace Hotel in Deira from 3pm to 7pm.