THE Court of Appeals has been asked to stop the Department of Health from implementing its order suspending medical clinics for alleged monopoly of services for overseas Filipino workers bound for Kuwait.
In a 30-page petition, the clinics accredited both by the DoH and the Kuwaiti government sought for issuance of a temporary restraining order on the preventive suspension order issued against them by Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial last March 9.
Petitioners Ruben Bartolome MD Clinic Inc., Abakkus Medical Diagnostic Services, Orion Medical & Diagnostic Center and San Marcelino Medical Clinic Co. stressed that the DoH order was illegal and arbitrary as it was issued in the absence of formal complaints against them.
Through lawyer Edward Martinez, the petitioners said the suspension was issued “in blatant and deliberate disregard of existing laws, rules and regulations, and even the DOH own rules of procedure, and in violation of petitioners’ right to due process.”
They said that a formal complaint or charge filed before the Bureau of Health and Facilities Services or the DoH is necessary before preventive suspension could be imposed as provided under Administrative Order No. 2013-0006.
Petitioners noted that the same law requires that only the BHFS director may investigate and conduct hearings in relation to the charge or complaint against a medical clinic and is the one vested with the authority to impose the corresponding sanction/s. The suspension, he added, should not go beyond 60 days as provided by the same AO.
They further lamented that the indefinite and arbitrary closure of the medical clinics would cause irreparable damages to owners and employees.
More importantly, they said thousands of OFWs bound for Kuwait could not leave because they had to hold in abeyance their working papers because they could not undergo the required medical examination.
In the assailed order, the DOH suspended the clinics based on two resolutions filed in the House of Representatives calling for an inquiry in aid of legislation against the medical clinics accusing them of conspiring with Mawared Services and Winston Q8 Certifications Solutions Inc. of allegedly creating a monopoly in providing medical services for all migrant workers bound for Kuwait in violation of Republic Act No. 10022 (Migrant Workers’ Act).
Petitioners have denied this allegation of monopoly against them, saying their listing under Winston Q8 was due to that fact they had been confirmed by the latter in compliance with the directive of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health.
“The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health, through Winston Q8, continuously confirms the eligibility of Philippine DOH-accredited medical clinics, and thereby extends its invitation to all other DOH-accredited medical clinics to submit themselves for confirmation of eligibility and compliance with the standards of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health,” they pointed out.
“To impose liability to those medical clinics that comply with the requirements and standards of the Ministry of Health of other countries is tantamount to prohibiting the other countries from setting their own standards in accepting or not the migrant workers for health reasons,” petitioners said.