Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday called for the immediate deportation and blacklisting of Chinese nationals who were caught involved in unauthorized makeshift medical facilities allegedly catering to Chinese patients suspected of infection with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“While we are working hard to protect our people from the virus, these criminals freely roam and pose danger to public health. This blatant disregard of our laws should merit immediate deportation and blacklisting,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“This is an Insult to our laws, and each Filipino, following the quarantine measures,” she added.
The senator made her call after the raid of various establishments in Parañaque, Pampanga, and Makati that were found to be illegally operating as hospitals and pharmacies primarily catering to employees of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) and Chinese nationals.
Chinese operators of said makeshift hospitals may face charges for the violation of the Food and Drug Administration Law, Medical Act of 1959 and the Hospital Licensure Act.
Hontiveros emphasized that underground and unlicensed medical facilities pose as a danger to public health. “They have zero regulation and can be a source of community transmission,” she said.
“We will be putting communities at risk and waste our quarantine efforts because of these medical facilities,” Hontiveros added.
Hontiveros also called on the government to double its efforts in cracking down on underground medical facilities.
“We can never be lenient towards this reckless behavior. Buhay ng mga Pilipino ang nakasalalay,” she said.
Senator Leila de Lima has bewailed the recent discovery of another underground and unlicensed medical facility.
The discovery of the said COVID-19 clinic last May 26 happened less than a week after authorities have raided a makeshift medical facility catering to Chinese patients inside the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark Special Economic Zone in Zambales.
“How many more are there such illegal facilities which are under the radar or our health system and with unreported COVID-19 cases, a situation which impacts heavily, and alarmingly, on government’s over-all response vs. COVID-19?” she asked in her Dispatch from Crame No. 804.
Based on media reports, authorities found medicines, syringes, and equipment for coronavirus testing, most of which had Chinese labels, during the recent raid in Makati.
It was also reported that the underground clinic lacks business permit while the Chinese doctor working there had no license to practice in the Philippines.
Prior to the police raid of illegal medical clinics in Makati and Zambales, it may be recalled that the local government of Parañaque also discovered an illegal health facility exclusive for Chinese nationals where unregistered medicines for COVID-19 and sexually transmitted diseases were said to be found last April.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, lamented how the Duterte administration continues to turn a blind eye to the wicked acts involving Chinese nationals and their enablers.
“As usual, when it comes to Chinese shenanigans or nefarious acts, tahimik lang yung top man sa Malacañang sa bagay na ito. Very enraging!” she said.
The opposition senator said she believes that the rise of these illegal hospitals aim to circumvent detection of COVID-19 infection among Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) workers and shield Duterte from public outrage for allowing the reopening of POGOs./Stacy Ang