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Crackdown set vs illegal clinics

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday vowed to mobilize the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration to crack down on the illegal medical clinics operating in the country.

“It seems that clandestine medical clinics catering mostly to foreign nationals have sprouted and have been operating without proper authority,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.

“Considering that they are not being supervised by the government, it is possible that the health of people who seek treatment in these illegal facilities is being compromised.”

Guevarra made his statement after the Philippine National Police busted two unlicensed clinics suspected of treating and testing foreigners, including Chinese nationals, for the COVID-19 disease.

On May 19, police raided Villa no. 628 of the Fontana Leisure Park in Clarkfield, Pampanga, on suspicion the villa was turned into a makeshift clinic accommodating Chinese nationals seeking medical treatment for COVID-19. One patient was reportedly found during the raid and was transferred to a hospital.

And the Makati police this week raided the Goldstar Medical Clinic and Pharmacy Corp. in San Antonio after they received complaints of medical waste clogging the drains.

The authorities arrested Chinese doctor David Lai, 49, and his assistant Liao Songhua, who uses the alias Bruce Liao, 41.

Last month, police also raided a medical clinic in Parañaque City and arrested a 44-year-old Chinese woman treating COVID-19 patients.

In Angeles City, police raided a three-bed medical clinic shortly after an entrapment operation was conducted against the owner of a pharmacy along Volga Street in Anunas village here on Thursday.

A 66-year old Chinese physician and his son were arrested for operating without a permit, and the police said the clinic had been operating for more than a year.

The Bureau of Immigration, meanwhile, has placed on its alert list the two Chinese nationals caught operating an underground hospital for COVID-19 patients in Pampanga last week.

“We have placed them on our alert list to prevent them from leaving the country and ensure their presence while they are undergoing criminal and administrative investigation for their alleged offenses,” Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

At the Senate, Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday called for the immediate deportation and blacklisting of Chinese nationals operating makeshift medical facilities catering to Chinese patients.

“While we are working hard to protect our people from the virus, these criminals freely roam and pose danger to public health,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“This blatant disregard of our laws should merit immediate deportation and blacklisting.”

Topics: Menardo Guevarra , National Bureau of Investigation , Bureau of Immigration , Goldstar Medical Clinic
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