Mother and three kids avail of amnesty on first day

Filipina says their visas became invalid in October 2017 after her Pakistani husband failed to return to UAE

Dubai: Sassy, 10, and Shaian, 9, have never been to the Philippines, their mother’s native land. But the half-Pakistani, half-Filipino kids have already drawn up a long to-do list once in the Philippines after applying for the amnesty on Wednesday.

“I want to go to ABS-CBN and meet Vice Ganda,” Sassy said, referring to a popular noontime TV host in the Philippines. “I want to be an actor too,” he said beaming.

Sassy is Rosemen’s second son to her Pakistani husband. Rosemen and her three kids, the eldest of whom has autism, had been stuck in the UAE since October last year after her husband failed to return to the UAE within the six-month period due to financial problems.

“We had businesses in Ajman, all named after our three kids. Our life was fine until last year when business started to slow down,” Rosemen said.

“We were on my husband’s visa. But since he can’t come back to the UAE for now due to some cases, we’ve decided to go home to the Philippines so the kids can continue their studies.”

Rosemen said she had planned on surrendering herself and the kids to authorities in June so they could go home. She was willing to pay the fines of more than Dh10,000. But she was advised to wait until August for the amnesty.

All the kids are dual citizens. But Rosemen doesn’t have a Pakistani visa. They have decided to stay in the Philippines and their father will just come and visit.

The kids cannot speak Tagalog but they understand it a little bit. Asked what they know about the Philippines now, Sassy blurted, “Duterte!”

The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine embassy and consulate, as approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, is facilitating the amnesty seekers’ trip home. Aside from paying their outpasses and other exit fees, the Philippine government is also providing the family with air tickets.

Life in the Philippines will be totally different for the kids, Rosemen said. But she’s positive that it’s for their best.

As for Sassy and Shaian, it seems that the two are not at all worried.

“We’ll make new friends right away. Plus I’d love to eat barbecue [sold on the streets],” Shaian said.

“My grandmother will see us for the first time. She used to see us on video chats only,” Sassy said.

“But we’ll definitely miss a lot. I’ll miss my friends, Global Village, the malls,” Shaian said. “I’ll miss UAE.”

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