Immorality tops Pinoy cases in Abu Dhabi

More than half the court cases against Filipinos in Abu Dhabi last year involve immorality, according to the Philippine Embassy records.

There were 133 immorality cases or 51.55% of the total 258 cases filed against Pinoys in the UAE’s capital city. There were 68 “money cases” or those involving unpaid debts and 57 theft cases which, Vice Consul Anna Guerra said is “usually standard na kaso sa mga runaways” by their employers.

Guerra also clarified that the number of immorality cases may not be as bad as it looks, noting some incidents where couple were taken into custody for public display affection like holding hands.

There were 66 immorality cases in the first half of 2016; 67 in the second. There were 40 “money cases” in the first half; 28 in the second. There were 30 theft cases in the first half of 2016 and 27 in the second, according to Guerra’s office.

The report has been submitted to the Philippine Congress.

Penalty for immorality cases usually starts at a three-month jail term depending on the nature of the offense.

Duterte tells OFs: ‘Tutulong ako sa inyo’

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has expressed strong intent to reciprocate the remittances overseas Filipinos (OFs) have been sending home, and the landslide vote they gave him in last year’s general elections.

“Tutulong ako sa inyo bilang pagbayad sa tulong nyo sa bayan. Magpakamatay kami sa inyo,” Duterte said during a 3am briefing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1shortly after his plane touched down on April 17 following a week-long official visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

Duterte and his delegation spoke to some 2,000 OFs at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 12, 2017; he met with about 4,000 OFs who gathered at the Khalifa Sports Complex in Bahrain on April 14; and some 7,500 OFs at the Lusail Sports Arena in Lusail City, Qatar on April 15, 2017.

“I am really gratified by the huge crowd,” the president said. “Maski saan ako pumunta anduon sila, mga Pilipino. Gusto ko ngang lumuhod. Thank you for helping the country. Malaki ‘yan. Di nyo lang alam, malaki ang tinutulong nyo sa bayan,” he added.

Duterte also noted how the OF swing vote has immensely contributed to his victory in last year’s presidential race.

“Sa lahat ng OFWs, naglandslide ako. All in all, ang average ko was 77% sa lahat ng boto ko mula sa inyo. Salamat ha,” he said, speaking before some 150 repatriated OFs from Saudi Arabia, who arrived almost simultaneously with him in Manila.

Duterte said his trip, done from April 10 to 16, has been the “most productive” compared to previous ones he had done in other parts of the world.

“It is in the national interest to realize,” he said, “na merong more than a million Filipinos there.”

“That’s why at every state I visited and to every head of state that I talked to, inii-stress ko yan: There is so much at stake here; and that we are very much interested to see your nation be stable, trouble-free and a good neighbor to everybody. The region is home to the largest number of OFs in the world,” Duterte said.

“It’s a very troubled world there. I hope it will not spill to the countries I have visited,” he added.

Crux

At the crux of the matter is the estimated 1.4 million overseas Filipinos in the region, which comprise approximately 60 percent of the total 2.4 million OFs around the world, as figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

OFs in the Middle East sent home almost $6 billion in 2015 or 23% of total remittances from across the globe, according to Philippine Central Bank (PCB) records.

OF remittances comprise a significant part of the Philippine GDP. Said Xpress Money, a global remittance firm: “Money transfers from Filipinos working all over the world account for at least 10-percent of the country’s GDP, the second largest source of foreign capital after value-added exports like electronic components, and a major source of private consumption which in turn accounts for 75% of the GDP.”
OFs in the Gulf region as well contributed immensely to Duterte’s victory in the presidential race. In the UAE alone, Duterte won by a huge landslide, garnering 51,879 – or 83.5% – of the total 62,103 actual votes cast, according to the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Duterte also got almost 60% of the total votes in Jeddah, and some 64% total votes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In all, Duterte got 313,300 votes from OFs, the most number of sectoral swing votes, according to the Commission on Elections.

Agenda

High on the president’s post-Gulf trip agenda is the creation of OF hospitals in the Middle East, “no matter how small,” he said, and a continuing repatriation program for distressed and stranded OFs, who, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, are “mostly runaways.”

Duterte also announced a small- and medium-scale livelihood program even as he assured that returning OFs wouldn’t need to have their luggage and boxes opened by Customs officers at the airport back home.

The president said these are “small things” compared to the OFs’ sacrifices made working abroad.

“Ang gusto ko yung ospital at yung maka-uwi yung mga distressed. Unahin yung mga may sakit. At one time or another, during the productive years of their lives, they helped us very much,” said the president.

“Kailangang magbayad tayo. I will give them (OFs) the primary importance. I will look for the money. Yung pinapadala nila sa bayan natin, malaki masyado. Importante na mabayaran naman natin sila ng kahit konti,” Duterte added.

As for the opening of the OFs’ luggage, he said, “Deretso lang kayo. ‘Pag binuksan, raise hell. Kapag mayor, kahit isang train ang bagahe, waved through lang. Eh lalo na mga OFWs.”


Dubai preparations

In Dubai meantime, organizers said they are awaiting a formal letter from Malacanang about a May 22-23 visit by the president, adding that they are looking at the Hamdan Multipurpose Sports Arena as the venue. “We are expecting definitely a bigger number,” organizers said.

Duterte tells Arab investors: ‘If someone ask you for even Ph10, shoot him’

President Duterte made sure he got his message across about his anti-corruption campaign during his trip, telling prospective investors to, themselves, kill government employees who ask them for bribe.

“If there’s somebody from Customs or Internal Revenue asking even Ph10 from you, shoot him. I will not allow corruption,” he said, to which he got an applause.

The president was speaking before officials of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (QCCI) led by its Chairman, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani at the Philippine-Qatar Business Forum held in Four Seasons Hotel Doha on April 15, 2017.

“The one thing that pulled my country down is corruption,” Duterte added.

The president has sacked, by his account as of March, 92 officials including close allies over corruption allegations. Early this month, he fired his Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno because he has “lost trust and confidence” in him.

At a business meeting in Bahrain held a day earlier at Capital Club in Manama’s Harbour Tower, Duterte said he will “not hesitate to fire more, even if we are close to each other.”
“I am here to tell you the Philippines is open for business,” he told the Bahraini businessmen. “We are undertaking economic and financial reforms. If you want to do business, we have the means to do business. We are serious about combating corruption. Countering corruption is a top priority of my administration,” he said.

In Doha where he met with some 7,500 OFs in a public gathering, he also reiterated his call to end corruption in government, saying “Ilang taon na. Ba’t hindi mahinto-hinto itong (expletive) ito!”

He urged OFs to join in the fight against corruption by not giving in to bribe attempts. “Huwag kayong pumayag na magbigay. You have to stand up for your right. ‘Wag kayong mag-surrender sa kahit anong kalokohan,” Duterte said, amid a cheering crowd.

Duterte quotes: The president spoke his mind in the Middle East, indeed!

President Duterte touched on a lot of topics during his week-long visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar . Here are some of them. Pick your choice.

• “Bakit mo buksan ‘yan (maleta). Ano suspetsa mo? Nagdala ako ng shabu? Put…! Galing ako sa countries na pinupugutan ng ulo ang mga gumagawa nyan!”
• “I will look for the money. Kundi, ipadala ko airport dun!”
• “Terrorism, pati drugs – ‘yan ang medyo hirap ako dyan.”
• “Iam not a war-time president. I have to talk about peace.”
• “Kaya pala wala nang magagandang babae sa Pilipinas. Andito pala kayong lahat.”
• “Ang eruplano ko, bakante pa apat. Baka, may isa sa inyo ang… hehehe…gustong umuwi, uwi ko na lang kayo”
• “Same sex marriage. ‘tang…yan! Dalawang bayaw ako gay. May pinsan ako gay. Ako nagduda nga ako sa sarili ko kung gay ba ako.
• “The Civil Code said marriage is between a woman and a man. Bakit mong pipilitin kung dalawang gay, eh di mag-live together sila. Bakit pakialaman pa batas? Katarantaduhan nga!”
• “My campaign against drugs will not stop until the last druglord is killed and the last pusher is out of the streets.”
• “Do not destroy my country and do not destroy the youth of the land thety Pag sinira mo sila papatayin talaga kita. Talagang yayariin kita.”
• “Sabi ko, ‘Put…mo! Ang sabi ko, ‘I will kill you.’ Sa awa ng Diyos, wala pa akong pinatay. Sabi ko, ‘I.’ Ako ba pumatay?”
• “Ph130,000 and sweldo. Dalawa pamilya ko.”
• “‘Wag kayong mabastusan. Tao lang po ako.”

(Pic from PCOO)

Duterte on the Middle East: ‘There is so much at stake here’

Noting that there are over a million Filipinos working in the Gulf, President Duterte said “it is to the national interest that we maintain more than just good relations” with the countries in the region to keep them safe.

This, even as he expressed strong intent to reciprocate the remittances the overseas Pinoys have been sending home, which have steadily been contributing to economic growth; and the landslide vote they gave him in last year’s general elections.

Speaking during a 3am, April 17 media briefing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1, the president, who had just then arrived from a week-long official visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, said the trip, his very first in the region, was the “most productive” compared to previous ones he had done in other parts of the world. The president was in the three Gulf countries, April 10 to 16.

“It is in the national interest to realize,” said Duterte, speaking before some 150 repatriated OFs from Saudi Arabia, who arrived almost simultaneously with him in Manila, “na merong more than a million Filipinos there.”
“That’s why at every state I visited and to every head of state that I talked to, inii-stress ko yan: There is so much at stake here; and that we are very much interested to see your nation be stable, trouble-free and a good neighbor to everybody. The region is home to the largest number of OFs in the world,” Duterte said.

“It’s a very troubled world there. I hope it will not spill to the countries I have visited,” he added.

Crux

At the crux of the matter is the estimated 1.4 million overseas Filipinos in the region, which comprise approximately 60 percent of the total 2.4 million OFs around the world, as figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
OFs in the Middle East sent home almost $6 billion in 2015 or 23% of total remittances from across the globe, according to Philippine Central Bank (PCB) records.

OF remittances comprise a significant part of the Philippine GDP. Said Xpress Money, a global remittance firm: “Money transfers from Filipinos working all over the world account for at least 10-percent of the country’s GDP, the second largest source of foreign capital after value-added exports like electronic components, and a major source of private consumption which in turn accounts for 75% of the GDP.”

OFs in the Gulf region as well contributed immensely to Duterte’s victory in the presidential race. In the UAE alone, Duterte won by a huge landslide, garnering 51,879 – or 83.5% – of the total 62,103 actual votes cast, according to the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Duterte also got almost 60% of the total votes in Jeddah, and some 64% total votes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In all, Duterte got 313,300 votes from OFs, the most number of sectoral swing votes, according to the Commission on Elections.
“Nanalo ako dito. Sa lahat ng OFW naglandslide ako. But what is really very surprising was that hindi nyo ako talaga kilala,” said Duterte at his meet-and-greet with OFs during the Bahrain leg of his trip.

Agenda

High on the president’s post-Gulf trip agenda is the creation of OF hospitals in the Middle East, “no matter how small,” he said, and a continuing repatriation program for distressed and stranded OFs, who, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, are “mostly runaways.”

He also assured that returning OFs wouldn’t need to have their luggage and boxes opened by Customs officers at the airport back home.
Duterte said these are “small things” compared to the OFs’ sacrifices made working abroad.
“Ang gusto ko yung ospital at yung maka-uwi yung mga distressed. Unahin yung mga may sakit. At one time or another, during the productive years of their lives, they helped us very much,” said the president.
“Kailangang magbayad tayo. I will give them (OFs) the primary importance. I will look for the money. Yung pinapadala nila sa bayan natin, malaki masyado. Importante na mabayaran naman natin sila ng kahit konti,” Duterte added.
As for the opening of the OFs’ luggage, he said, “Deretso lang kayo. ‘Pag binuksan, raise hell. Kapag mayor, kahit isang train ang bagahe, waved through lang. Eh lalo na mga OFWs.”

Dubai preparations

Duterte and his delegation spoke to some 2,000 OFs at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 12, 2017; he met with about 4,000 OFs who gathered at the Khalifa Sports Complex in Bahrain on April 14; and some 7,500 OFs at the Lusail Sports Arena in Lusail City, Qatar on April 15, 2017.
In Dubai meantime, organizers said they are awaiting a formal letter from Malacanang about a May 22-23 visit by the president, adding that they are looking at the Hamdan Multipurpose Sports Arena as the venue. “We are expecting definitely a bigger number,” organizers said.

25 social media booboos

Social media have made life extra fun for a lot of reasons. Nowhere in mankind’s history has it been this convenient to stay in touch with everyone. There are curbs of course, most especially in matters of dos and don’ts.

But as popular American writer, Robert Fulghum would say in his two-year New York Times bestseller of the same title, “Everything you really need to know, you’ve learned in kindergarten.”

In a more clichéd manner of saying, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Just follow the basics of real-life social ethics and you’ll get there.

Below is a quick rundown of the most common social media gaffes you’ve probably came across at least once in your cyber life – and they can sometimes cause friends to put you in the “Hide” list, worse, “unfriend” you.

posting cryptic message
1)Posting cryptic messages. “Oh no, not again.” “Prayers please. ” “Uuuuugghhh!” are cliffhanger status updates or “vaguebooking” that leave people like “gawking fans,” as The Huffington Post puts it, to the “attention-seeking” author’s delight.

2)Sharing gory pictures. Who wants to see images of severed heads or a blown-up torso? Ever noticed how you get less “Likes” if at all, posting gruesome images?

ranting
3)Ranting, griping. Sometimes it’s fine to do a little venting – we all get disappointed once in a while. But don’t make it a habit, because if you do, you’d most likely lose FB friends.

selfie 2
4)Selfie galore. A new study has revealed that posting too many selfies could be annoying to your friends. It says the habit borders on extreme narcissism — that “I am the center of the universe” which some people may find irksome. Another study says this habit is actually an indirect way to cover lask of self-esteem.

5)Changing profile pictures often. “People who keep changing their profile pictures are insecure, lack confidence and are often very flippant in their decisions. Such people are also found to be suspicious and don’t trust others easily. Some even show traits of split personality and always remain dissatisfied with their decisions,” said Dr. Amool Ranjan, a psychologist who had worked for India’s Ministry of Health.

posting drunk 2
6) Posting when drunk. Get off it. People can easily tell when you’re drunk and on a posting mood – you sound different.

7)Chain letters. “If you don’t repost this to your wall and tag five friends, you’ll never find true happiness.” For real?!?

constantly changing relationship status
8)Constantly changing relationship updates. So you were “Engaged” then suddenly it became “Complicated.” And now you’re in an “Open Relationship.” Paired.com says, “Unless you are 12 years old, there shouldn’t be so much drama behind it, but yet there is in the world of dating.”

9)Posting your childhood photo for profile picture. If you do this, gawker.com says, “You are the type of person who thinks that everything in the past is better than it is now.”

10)Candy Crush and other game invites. Yes, it’s annoying to the point that Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to stop it.

posting food before eating
11)Posting food before eating. Dr. Susan Albers told Psychology Today people have developed the habit for a range of reasons: from sharing the experience to actually indicating a “problematic relationship with eating” and asking for advice.

12)Posting images of make-outs. Get off it. Photos of intimacy is fine, but making out?

13)Public posting for someone. Called a “sub-post” and sort of like a blind item posted for someone, a boss maybe, or an ex-lover, even a slob room mate – “I would have loved it if you actually washed your meal plates.”

vacation overkill 2
14) Vacation overkill. Social Times reported that data from CyberLink Corp. suggests you might want to think twice before flooding your News Feed with those vacation photos because most probably your FBFs don’t want an overkill.

15)Check-ins. Some people go to ridiculous lengths to post places where they’ve been – hotel lobby, the mall, even the lavatory! But really, others question how can looking at those pictures be fun?

emoting on facebook
16)Emoting on Facebook. This tops the most annoying FB behavior, experts say, adding that it usually are from loners or those with no obne to talk to about their ordeals.

17)Posting in all caps. Writing in all caps is equivalent to shouting – the first rule everyone should know.

humblebrags
18)Humblebrags and other types of brags. Waitbutwhy.com says that bragging is “such a staple” that it needs to be broken down to three: the “I am having a great life” brag; Undercover or Humblebrags, and the ‘I’m in a great love affair” brag.\

19)Obsessively posting about your child. Okay, all parents love their child but flooding updates about him or her maybe stretching it a bit.

20)Tagging friends in not-so-good pics. It’s called “uncompromising situations” and then poor guy might just end up deleting you.

21)Literal status update. “Headed to the gym.” ‘Beat my deadline.” And so on. Experts say some people post literal updates because they are lonely.

22)Pet show. Most of us have come across this type: people who post photos of their pets without them in the picture. Gawker.com says it says a lot about you, a cat posted by a lady, for instance, could mean she has no boyfriend.

23)Ghost tagging. It’s when a friend tags everyone, including you but you’re not in the picture. Duh!

From selfie obsession to food porn,
Although Facebook is a highly convenient way for people to keep in touch with their loved ones, sometimes the sharing we do on Facebook can have disastrous results! Updating your status badmouthing your boss without realizing that your boss in your friends’ list is one of the most common mistakes many Facebook users make. Apart from such blunders, there are other friends who leave unexpected comments on your posts and photos. All of this works together to provide us material for our today’s list – 15 of the worst Facebook Fails. Check them out below:

How to polish your interview skills

Interviews can be a very nerve-wracking experience. But experts say it’s all about keeping your poise, making occasional eye contacts and being confident.
Here’s a walk-thru of how to come out of interviews

Mock interview
Either by yourself or with someone else, a mock interview is a must for all jobseekers seriously wanting the job. It’s a session where your friend asks you questions related to the job, coaches you about how to answer good, and grades you on how you fared – quivering voice, rapid eye, evading eye contact and some nervous jitters are definitely the first to be on the look-out for.


Be confident but not cocky

No matter what the interview, the most common question is in reference to you and your personal traits. Practice describing yourself with language and tones that come across as confident but not cocky. Make sure you know your strengths and key characteristics you’d like your audience to know about you.

Read through the lines of the job description
Come to think of it. Job descriptions basically spell out what you should be focusing on when prepping up, yet people seem to overlook it. Basically, a job description is an outline of how the conversation would go – it’s a “cheat sheet,” as the experts would say.

So, if it says, “Looking for a highly-motivated person able to wear different hats and willing to grow,” then make sure you have something about yourself to fit in to this.

Do your homework
Research. Research. Research some more about the company. Remember, you are not just selling your skills, you are also telling them how you could be part of the company’s growth. Keep them excited about you. The better you know the company, the more likely you are to stand out. Connect the dots as to why you’ll be the perfect addition.

Go to the company website and read the mission, values, and annual report. Check out the company’s social media accounts.

Be ready for the “curveball question.”

Called as such because it’s loaded and leading: “Sell me that pen,” or “If you were tree what kind would you be and why?” These questions dig in to your creativity and thought process – slow or fast.

This is a personality question and will reflect greatly on how you are as a person. So, answer with all confidence, chin-up too.

Kaskas sagad?

Are you heavily in debt? Keep calm and pull yourself together. In this edition, we report what experts say is a good option for your way out consolidation. But remember: only you can make it work.

More and more Filipinos overseas are looking for ways to manage their multiple debts and get out of what have become their daily nightmares.
Here in the UAE, access to debt is relatively easy compared to more stringent policies back home. It is only when an overseas Filipino could no longer sleep due to piling debts that he begins to ponder, and ask: Pa’no nga ba nagsimula ang lahat, bes? (How did it all start?)
It usually does when an overseas Filipino starts to make enough income – averaging Dh5,000 – that would qualify him for credit cards. Those having salary below the benchmark, as numerous reports have shown, are lured by lending houses offering easy cash with more relaxed requirements.
The Filipino Times spoke with debt defaulters to find out how it all started. We also interviewed debt management companies to understand ways on how to get out of this never-ending cycle.

From “kelangan ko” to “gusto ko ‘nyan”

Jose Ma. Guerrero (not his real name), got promoted with a gross monthly pay of Dh6,000. His bank told him he is now eligible for a credit card with a limit of Dh12,000. He did not really need a card but he was convinced to take it, anyway. Jose used it occasionally, which became more frequent as he started to extend the classification of “kailangan ko ‘to” (needs) to “gusto ko ‘to” (wants) from groceries to gadgets, clothes and more remittance (padala).
In three months, Juan used his card to pay Dh12,000 worth of expenses. He only pays the minimum amount due (Dh600) which is only 5% of the total balance. Upon payment of the minimum due, he bought a new pair of sunglasses worth Dh600 thinking that it’s still within his limit.
On the fourth month, he was surprised to see that he has received a bill of Dh12,700 requiring a minimum pay of Dh1,325 (Dh200 for over-limit fee, Dh500 for interest and Dh700 for the actual exceeded amount).
On the fifth month, he used his food budget to pay-off the unforeseen additional credit card payment. So he used the card to pay Dh400 for groceries. At the end of the month, he is once again surprised because his minimum due has increased to Dh1,700.
Before he knew it, his minimum due has now reached Dh4,500 on top of his Dh12,000 original debt. He no longer has enough funds to pay rents, family remittance and daily cost of living. He has then started to default on payments which further incurred interests, over-limit fees and late payment charges. The bank is now aggressively following up on his payments, threatening him of impending police case and legal action.

‘Pasan ko ang daigdig’

Mary Diaz (also not her real name) is a single mom who has a fifth-grader daughter at a Montessori school and a son in 3rd year college. She earns Dh8,000. She’s in the same boat as Juan. Only this time, she thought of getting another credit card where she can cash out to make a partial payment to her first credit card which has an outstanding balance of Dh20,000 (excluding interest). She cashed out Dh16,000 (80% of the card value). She paid Dh10,000 to the first card and remitted Dh6,000 for her children’s tuition fees. For the cash-out, she had to pay Dh480 for the processing fee plus a monthly interest of Dh240, on top of the overall finance charges.
At the end of the first month, she has to pay a minimum of Dh1,430 for the second card; and Dh2,500 for the first one.
Half of her salary is now earmarked to pay for her two credit cards. A day came when her son had to go to Singapore for internship and asked for a new laptop. Mary had to cash out Dh10,000 from the first credit card and ended up having both cards maxed out. More than half of her salaries now go to card payments and she started to default.


A.k.a. Gone Girl

Nancy Roxas is hiding from authorities because of unpaid two credit cards and a personal loan of Dh215,000. She now absents herself from work to avoid debt collectors and is also borrowing from everyone she knows using emotional and fabricated stories.

If only they knew…there’s debt consolidation pala!

Dhiraj Bhatia, managing director at Express Debt Management Consultancy (EMDC),
Dhiraj Bhatia, managing director at Express Debt Management Consultancy (EMDC),

“Debt consolidation is basically converting multiple payments into a single one,” said Dhiraj Bhatia, managing director, Express Debt Management Consultancy (EDMC).
The idea, he explained, is to covert the high interest rate liabilities into a lower interest rate payment. “This will reduce the monthly payments and get you out of debts completely over a period of time,” Bhatia said

Mohsin Bukhari,  founder of and director at Instant Debt Management Services
Mohsin Bukhari, founder of and director at Instant Debt Management Services
“Loan consolidation also effectively reduces the amount of the pay-out on a monthly basis,” said Mohsin Bukhari, founder of and director at Instant Debt Management Services (IDMS).
Yvonne Gonzales of Gulf Law Consultancy walked us through: “First step is to evaluate your existing financial condition,” she said.
She stressed: “It is important to consider how much lower the interest rate is and whether or not it is a fixed rate for the entire term.”
The financing company will assess the client’s paying capacity.
“Upon consolidation of the loan, you can free up a little bit of extra income, and clear up credit card balances,” Gonzales said. (See case study box on the next page)
While on loan consolidation, it is advised that you don’t spend money at the same rate that you do previous to the payment plan. Consolidation is a good option as long as you stop using your credit cards and change your habits so you do not continue to run up debt.
Remember: This is your last straw. You can’t default again. And only you can make it work.

CASE STUDY: Pinay had Dh23,000 monthly credit payments and made it

Lydia Cabenti (not her real name) makes Dh28,000 a month. Because she receives a high salary, she made the mistake of spending more than what she makes. She ended up buried in loans and credit card debt.
Her liabilities and payouts were as follows:
• Salary transfer loan with HSBC – Dh6,100 per month. Total Outstanding Dh200,000
• Non Salary Transfer Loans with FGB- Dh3,400 per month. Total Outstanding DH130,000
• HSBC credit card debt – Dh35,000
• Other Bank Cards- Total Outstanding: Dh140,000 (Loan also availed on all of these cards)
• Total monthly payout – DH23,000 (against all of the above listed liabilities)
Cabenti sought help from a debt consolidator which gave her a loan on a preferential rate and unified all her liabilities into a single payment.
Her monthly payout now is Dh11,700 and she will be completely debt free in the next four years. Her monthly disposable income now is Dh16,300 which is up Dh11,300 from the Dh5,000 left from her after payments before she sought help. (Instant Debt Management Services)

Money exchange group warns vs fake bills

DUBAI: A remittance business group has cautioned about the proliferation of counterfeit bills said to be “most prevalent” at gas stations, grocery stores and money exchange houses. “Counterfeiting has serious repercussions for global economies.

It reduces the value of real money, and can result in decreased acceptability of paper money as consumers and businesses lose trust in currency,” said Osama Al Rahma, General Manager of Al Fardan Exchange and chair of the Foreign Exchange Remittance Group (FERG). Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty, UAE Exchange President and FERG Vice Chair, for his part said, “carriers come in all kinds of categories.”

“In some cases, they wouldn’t even know that they were being used as a carrier by vested interests,” he said. “Once the counterfeit currency is out in the market, it will make its appearance in various locations.

Most places that deal in hard currency like supermarkets, exchange houses, and banks among others, have advanced technological facilities like fake currency note identifying machines,” said Shetty, adding that employees of these businesses are also regularly trained and updated through various workshops and awareness-creating programs to counter such risks. The very first step in determining whether a bill is counterfeit is by feeling the banknote, FERG officials said.

Genuine bank notes are often ‘Intaglio’ printed – a printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface of the paper. The next move is to hold a note up to the light to check see-through features, watermarks and security threads. If needed, staff members can use a UV lamp to reveal ultraviolet security measures, or check for optically variable ink and latent images. The UAE law punishes anyone bringing in or circulating counterfeit currency notes to a year in prison or a fine of Dh5,000 while money counterfeiters could be sentenced to life in prison.

Al Rahma said $100 denominations are the most commonly counterfeited bill “due to its worldwide acceptance and circulation; and being the currency of reserve for many people across the globe.” Meanwhile, Adeeb Ahamed, CEO of Abu Dhabi-based Lulu International Exchange and FERG treasurer said exchange companies in the UAE are equipped with the latest models of machines that recognize almost all types of defects in a bank note.

“Front line associates are trained continuously on how to recognize and detect counterfeit bank notes,” he said. “People found with counterfeit foreign currency or using the same to buy goods could be charged with a crime or even be arrested,” added Rajiv Raipancholi, owner of Orient Exchange and FERG secretary. “Exchange houses need to inform the police who will then visit the premises, take the fake notes and start their investigation,” he said.

Oplan sagip utang

Are you trapped in an unending cycle of debt? Turn the tide on your financial troubles and get out from under. Here’s how.

DUBAI: In the UAE, four out of 10 Filipinos are trapped in a debt cycle. This, according to experts and financial advocacy groups, who said such is a result of whimsical and unplanned spending.

“There are those whose debt payments comprise 50 percent or more of their salary,” said Franz Ramirez Angeles, a certified associate financial planner working with Money Talks UAE (MTUAE). “Kapag ganuon, medyo alarming na iyon. Di na healthy ang finances. Medyo problematic na,” she added.

There are those whose debt payments comprise 50 percent or more of their salary

The MTUAE regularly holds financial literacy seminars and events from which it has come to arrive at the figure, according to Angeles. Asked how could someone be allocating half his salary on debt payments, Ramirez said, “Nag loan sila pero napunta sa consumer spending, halimbawa gadgets, or sa family needs back home or some investment na na-scammed.”

Debt trap

Ramirez’ remarks was echoed by Dhiraj Bhatia, CEO of Express Debt Management Consultancy, which offers programs for those struggling out of a debt trap. “It all starts with a small loan or a low limit credit card. Debt burden builds over a period of time. A borrower must pay off existing liabilities before taking over a new liability.

This is where most people fall into a debt trap as they keep adding onto their liabilities without a proper financial plan to pay off their existing ones,” said Bhatia. Sandeep Ghosh, senior wealth manager at Globaleye UAE, could not have put it more vividly, saying a debt trap is “an extremely difficult hole to climb out of.”

Ghosh said sound debt management is “rarely the case,” likewise noting how he has encountered “extreme cases” where the client is spending more than half of his or her monthly income just to pay off the monthly interest (profit charge) on a loan or credit card, with no end in sight of being able to pay back the whole sum.

“Within the Filipino community, I see cases like this very often. I have met with individuals who could have planned their time in the UAE better, made enough money within 10-12 years and returned home for a comfortable life; but instead they are stuck here after 15 years worse off than they were five years before, and with no end in sight on their debt repayments, purely from lack of effective financial planning,” Ghosh said.

Banking system

In the past, many banks extended unregulated loans, which turned into bad loans. To prevent these errors, the Central Bank imposed a cap on the size of loans that banks can offer.

According to Euromonitor International, this cap forces the banks to be more cautious when lending, preventing lenders from issuing loans to borrowers who are unable to pay them back. Some of the new regulations are: You may not borrow more than 20 times your annual salary; you must not have a debt to burden ratio of more than 50 per cent; and you must be in full-time employment with the ability to prove a regular income.

While these rules help prevent loans turn into bad debts, it is still relatively easier to secure personal loans in the UAE compared to other countries.

Strategy

“The sooner you understand your financial instability the faster you can get out of debts,” Bhata said. “Most people do not take any action until it’s too late.” There are more than a few options available for borrowers to get out of debts and live a debt-free life, Bhatia said.

According to him, a viable loan formula is such that a borrower’s monthly loan or credit card payment should not exceed more than 50 percent of their net salary per month. It is a must, he said, that before obtaining any loans, one must understand his or her total liabilities and how much is needed to be paid on monthly basis.

The loan mantra

If you are still debt-free, take advantage of your situation and sit down with a certified advisor for a financial planning health check, said Ghosh. “If you must borrow money, first ask yourself what the debt is for and if you really need it. Can it wait? Is there a cheaper alternative? Remind yourself why you came to UAE. Is this loan going to help you get to your financial goal or delay it?,” he said.

AT A GLANCE: Options, choices and steps to get out of the debt trap

I have defaulted
I haven’t paid my multiple loans and credit cards and the banks are going after me, what should I do?

For the currently employed
1. Find out the total debt including interests.
2.Negotiate with your banks for a restructured payment plan (i.e. lower EMI or Estimated Monthly Installments) aligned to your capacity to pay. It is stipulated by the UAE Central Bank that no more than 50% of your monthly income is allowed to go on debt repayment.
3. Once approved, you have to follow the payments schedules strictly otherwise the bank can demand full payment in case you missed a schedule.
4. If declined, file a request to the Central Bank for full mediation.

For the retrenched/made redundant
1. Go to your banks. Apply for a jobs lost protection program within two months after receipt of the Letter of
Redundancy.
2. Normally, you will be given up to six months to find
employment.
3 Upon getting new employment, apply for loan restructuring if your salary is lower than your previous remuneration.

DISCLAIMER: The advice provided doesn’t constitute legal advice and is given for information only. TFT readers are urged to seek independent legal advice.

I haven’t defaulted yet
I haven’t defaulted yet but I’m struggling to be financially abreast, what should I do?
1. If you have made at least one year’s payment of your loan, you can negotiate with your bank for an easier or extended payment plan.
2. You can also approach a different bank for a buy-out of all your debts.
3.You may also apply for a debt consolidation from a bank that offer debt settlement for expats.