Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf: Barney Almazar, Esq. – The People’s Lawyer
Above and beyond his capacity as a law practitioner, Barney Almazar has become a bit of a superhero figure in the UAE Filipino community – and rightfully so. He collaborates with the Philippine Consulate to provide free legal advice to kabayans regarding debt management. He regularly conducts seminars that cover hotbed issues such as labour policies, financial management, entrepreneurship, and immigration and family laws. And just recently, he has authored the first and only legal guidebook dedicated to the Filipino community.
“I believe that information is the key to keep Filipinos away from trouble. I authored The Essential OFW Guide to UAE to give the OFW’s what they need to know to reach their dreams and make it big in the Emirates,” Barney says. “I have also written similar guidebooks for KSA and Qatar. Within the year, we are launching my 4th book, Paano Yayaman ang OFW sa Middle East. This is for distribution in KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait and Oman.”
One of Barney’s most memorable and well-received projects was his financial literacy awareness campaign. “60% of the cases I oversaw were debt-related,” he says. “It is a sad reality that the majority of the OFW’s do not understand the real cost of credit card financing. To get the people aware and reexamine their spending behaviour, I use catchphrases they can easily relate with: Kahit walang ipon, basta may iPhone; Kahit walang pera sa wallet, basta may tablet at gadget.”
Barney represented the Middle East Network of three million Filipinos in the 3rd Global Summit of Filipinos in Diaspora – a feat that he considers as his greatest achievement. He is a director at the Commercial Department of Gulf Law in the Middle East, Philippines and United Kingdom. A lifetime member of the Philippine Bar, he holds a UAE legal consultancy license, as well as Juris Doctor and MBA dual degrees on International Business and European Union Law from the University of London.