PCG attends to Pinoy jobhunter hospitalized while on visit visa

The Philippine Consulate General (PCG) is currently working on the repatriation of a jobless Filipino who recently arrived in Dubai on a visit visa to look for a job but ended up incurring Dh150,000 in hospital bills following treatment for life-threatening medical conditions.


Francis Santiago, aged 40 and a father of two, arrived in April and was subsequently offered work at a restaurant after Ramadan. Unfortunately, before he could even start, Santiago was admitted at Iranian Hospital on June 7, diagnosed with pulmonary edema and dilated cardiomyopathy. Doctors eventually did a surgery procedure on him noting his worsening illnesses.

The bill shot up to over Dh150,000 as Santiago stayed in the hospital for over a month to recuperate. He however does not have medical insurance to cover the expenses.

Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes paid Santiago a visit upon learning about his case. He said PCG paid for Santiago’s plane ticket for home.

The Iranian Hospital, as of press time, was coordinating with PCG, having allowed Santiago to leave and have his passport back, which was initially held pending payments.

“The patient has been released from the hospital without payment yet last week,” said the hospital’s Finance and Admission Manager, Mollaei Mohammed.

Marco Flores, an officer with PCG’s Assistance to Nationals (ATN) section, told The Filipino Times that another ATN officer is working on Santiago’s documents for him to travel back to Philippines. The embassy is also in touch with MPQ Tourism which processed Santiago’s papers for the return ticket.

PCG, it was also learned, is working on settling the hospital bill.

No insurance

Santiago’s case put to fore an issue that has long been dogging visit visa holders who have fallen ill and incurred huge hospital bills.

Rey Angulo, a Filipino volunteer social worker at Rashid Hospital, said that up to 10% of the Filipinos he visits at the medical facility are visit visa holders.
Citing a Feb. 16, 2013 news report by a major local media, Angulo said visit visa holders should have medical insurance processed by their travel agencies.

The report cited Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), who was quoted as saying that “A ministerial decision number 322 for the year 2008 makes health insurance mandatory to obtain any type of visit visa to the UAE. The rule came into effect in August in the same year.”

However, the report said tourists and visitors can receive free treatment in case of emergency as per the visa health insurance rules and regulations.

Amor Alvarez, sales manager at an insurance company who has been in the profession for the past 10 years, for her part explained that only those with UAE residence visa can avail of a health insurance.

“Dito sa UAE, hindi pwedeng mag-issue ng medical insurance without a UAE residence visa,” she said, adding that travelers to the country instead has an option to buy a travel insurance that has medical cover coverage.

Source: filipinotimes

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