The Department of Labor and Employment on Friday warned overseas Filipino workers in the United Arab Emirates not to engage in sex outside marriage while in that country since it is considered as a crime and is punishable by imprisonment.
The department said that the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority issued the advisory following reports that many foreign workers in UAE were jailed because of committing illicit acts.
The POEA said that single women and men who are in a relationship and have plans to live together should first get married so they can live in the Emirates as husband and wife.
Being a Muslim country governed by the Sharia Law, the UAE considers living together without the benefit of marriage as illegal and is punishable by three to six months imprisonment and eventual deportation.
The Philippine Consulate in Dubai reported that a number of expatriate couples, including Filipinos, are now behind bars for violations of this nature.
The Consulate has received numerous requests for repatriation from Filipinos in Dubai and Northern Emirates who have children out of wedlock. They believe that the Consulate can simply endorse them to Dubai Immigration without having them detained. Unfortunately, immorality is not negotiable under the UAE penal system.
Pregnancies and childbirth outside marriage carry a punishment of six months in jail, deportation, and a lifetime ban.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has a legal assistance fund to help overseas Filipinos in distress for their litigation expenses, court fees, and bail bond.
However, those who are entitled to the legal assistance fund are Filipinos accused of murder or any case that has a sentence of life imprisonment or death.