Sen. Richard Gordon lamented that the country is already grappling with the influx of Chinese workers, and now there appears to be another incursion of foreign medical personnel.
AFP/File
‘Probe syndicate bringing foreign doctors into country’
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon has asked authorities to investigate what he believes is a syndicate that brings foreign doctors into the country to practice medicine in certain hospitals without the necessary permits, which he says may have negative repercussions on the health of patients.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said he stumbled into the “racket employed by a syndicate” right at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital, a government-run facility in Olongapo City, where several doctors of Pakistani or Nepalese citizenships have been practicing medicine as medical consultants.

He alleged that the syndicate facilitates the entry and employment of foreign doctors without first securing the necessary permits and in violation of the reciprocity requirement under Republic Act 2382 or The Medical Act of 1959, and Republic Act 8981 or the “PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) Modernization Act of 2000.”

 “I am concerned because they are allowed to deal with patients on a one-on-one basis, they prescribe medicines. The patients hardly understand them,” Gordon said in a statement. “I’ve received many complaints and we’ve confirmed them. Are they supervised by Filipino doctors? Are they even allowed to practice medicine here?”

 He pointed out that the Philippines has reciprocity agreements with Japan, Spain and the US, including the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangements with member-states of the regional grouping.

 Gordon lamented that the country is already grappling with the influx of Chinese workers, and now there appears to be another incursion of foreign medical personnel.

 The senator said he believes the incident is not limited to hospitals in Olongapo City.

 Under Section 7 (j) of RA 8981, the Professional Regulation Commission was empowered “to approve the registration of and authorize the issuance of a certificate of registration/license and professional identification card… to a foreigner who is registered under the laws of his state or country and whose certificate of registration issued therein has not been suspended or revoked.” 

It also provides that the “requirements for the registration or licensing in said foreign state or country are substantially the same as those required and contemplated by the laws of the Philippines and that the laws of such foreign state or country allow the citizens of the Philippines to practice the profession on the same basis and grant the same privileges as those enjoyed by the subjects or citizens of such foreign state or country.”

 The same provision allows the PRC to authorize the issuance of a certificate of registration/license or a special temporary permit to foreign professionals who desire to practice their professions in the country under reciprocity and other international agreements.

It also allows them to work as consultants in foreign-funded, joint venture or foreign-assisted projects of the government or as health professionals engaged in humanitarian mission for a limited period of time. 

However, it also requires the foreigners to first secure a special permit from the PRC and the Department of Labor and Employment.

 The PRC may file a criminal complaint against the alleged violators and request for their deportation.   

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