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Filipina abandoned on street by friends is returning home

Chenilla, an illegal resident, suffered temporary memory loss on December 14 and was being treated at Rashid Hospital

Image Credit: Janice Ponce de Leon/Gulf News
Milagros Chenilla (right) and Ray Angulo, a social worker who helped ascertain her identity and fix her papers.
Gulf News

Dubai: A Filipina who was abandoned on the road after losing her memory following a diabetes complication in December is finally going home to be with her family in the Philippines on Friday.

On December 14, 63-year-old Milagros Chenilla suffered temporary memory loss while she was on the way to a job interview with some friends.

Chenilla, who earlier worked in Abu Dhabi as a teacher for six years, was then staying in the country illegally for almost a year after losing her job.

“When I regained consciousness, I was already in hospital, but I had no memory. My body was paralysed and I couldn’t talk,” Chenilla told Gulf News.

Ray Angulo, a volunteer social worker who had helped Chenilla from day one, said her friends left her unconscious on a street in Al Ghusais probably because they were scared as they were also illegal residents.

“For several days, Chenilla was a ‘Jane Doe’ in the hospital; she was unknown. She had an episode and fell unconscious. She had no one visiting her, no friends, no one,” Angulo said.

Angulo tried to establish her identity through a Facebook search. Together, they were able to trace who she was after four days.

“I am grateful to Rashid Hospital for accommodating me despite my status. They took me in without questions. I thank all the doctors, nurses, and cleaners who lovingly took care of me as if I’m part of their family. My thanks also go to everyone who prayed for me,” Chenilla said.

Chenilla will need one more operation in the Philippines to remove her uterine fibroids. She said one of her daughters will care for her there.

“I think it will be a bittersweet homecoming. One of my daughters disowned me when their father, who suffered a stroke, died on December 14 last year — the same day that I was admitted to Rashid Hospital — because I couldn’t send them financial support.

“But it’s OK. The most important thing right now is I survived and I’m coming home to my family alive. I thank God for that.”

Angulo, who pushed for Chenilla’s repatriation from Dubai instead of Abu Dhabi said her trip was made possible through the assistance of the Philippine Embassy and the consulate.

Officials from the Assistance to Nationals Section at the Dubai consulate visited Chenilla on Wednesday before her scheduled discharge on Thursday night. They also checked on the condition of other Filipino patients at Rashid Hospital.

“They told us to remain hopeful that all will be well and that the government is extending all possible help,” Chenilla said.

Asked what her fondest Dubai memory is, Chenilla said it was when she found a family in Angulo when everyone else, including her sibling in Abu Dhabi, had abandoned her.

“Mr Ray is a very warm hearted and generous person. He stood by my side every step of the way. He facilitated everything for me. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have been able to know my true identity,” Chenilla said.

“I have all but gratitude in my heart right now. I’m finally going home. The feeling is indescribable.”

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