A 71-year-old man in Dubai is not going to be reunited with his family soon and avail of the ongoing repatriation program due to his unsettled AED150,000 or Php2.35 million loan.
71-year-old Eduardo Malinao Cervantes, an engineer, is now penniless, wheelchair-bound with certain medical conditions. He hails from Quezon province and lives in shared accommodation in Abu Hail has diabetes that has worsened and caused glaucoma and now has cataract.
“Noong nakaraang week, tuluyan na akong hindi makakita. Inaalalayan na lang ako ng mga kasamahan ko dito sa bahay sa pagkain at paglalakad,” Cervantes told Rappler.
He went to work as a communications engineer in Saudi Arabia in 1983 and stayed in the Muslim country for 20 years until 2003 when he was transferred by the company to Dubai for a project.
In 2008, he started to apply for an AED70,000 or Php949,000 loan from a private bank in Dubai to consolidate his credit card debts. He revealed that he had up to five credit cards.
“Nagawa ko lang mangutang ng malakihan sa banko kasi may mga credit cards ako na gusto kong nang isara,” he added.
In 2009, he failed his duties to pay his debts on time, resulting in an interest pile up and prompting the bank to appoint a collection agency to go after him. In the same year, he had lost his job and was not able to renew his residency visa due to the debt case.
It was December 2019 when a criminal case was filed against him, for which he served monthlong jail time in January 2010.
He was once again jailed mid-2011 when a civil case was filed against him. He also learned that in 2012 a travel has been imposed against him, preventing him to go out of the country without settling the dues.
Although the Philippine Consulate’s Attention-to-Nationals (ATN) was able to help him, there was still a problem because he has to pay the amount that the bank was asking for through a collection agency.
According to ATN officer Marco Flores, Cervantes’ case has already sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs and that he was already aware that he can’t go home due a travel ban imposed against him.