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Grace Princesa, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, gave the advice following the robbery attempt at a money exchange centre in Abu Dhabi allegedly by a veiled Filipina on Sunday. The suspect, whom police identified as A.L.R., 33, was arrested on the scene.
Surveillance footage of the arrest showed the alleged suspect threatening the staff of the exchange with a toy gun. Police reports said the suspect confessed during interrogations that she tried to rob the exchange house to pay off a Dh140,000 debt.
?As soon as we received the news that one of our nationals was allegedly involved, I immediately asked our Assistance To Nationals (ATN) officer to verify the information. We are trying to see her to assist in whatever way possible,? Princesa told.
?If she?s eligible to a Legal Assistance Fund, we will request for it. Of course we?ll be visiting her regularly,? she added.
Princesa said the ATN section has yet to check its records to see if the suspect had tried to seek help from the embassy in the past.
?This incident really brings into focus what we have been advocating for at the Philippine embassy ? financial literacy. We have been equipping Filipinos here to be financial literate so that they do not have to resort to illegal means to settle their dues.?
In January, the Philippine government issued an advisory to Filipinos in the UAE against applying for loans and using credit cards that they can?t pay. It was issued due to the alarming increase in the number of Filipinos detained due to unpaid loans.
The advisory clearly pointed out that when Filipinos abroad get into trouble due to debt, it is a private matter between the lender and the borrower and the government cannot intervene using taxpayers? money.