Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Sen. Risa Hontiveros said, in separate statements, that these clinics that are not supervised by the government pose risks to public health and safety.
AFP/Johannes Eisele, file
NBI, BI to help police locate, probe illegal COVID-19 clinics
(Philstar.com) - May 28, 2020 - 11:19am

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra is tapping the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration to help the police in locating illegally operated COVID-19 clinics.

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

Members of the Southern Police District and the city health department on Tuesday raided Goldstar Clinic and Pharmacy Corp. in Makati City allegedly operating without permit.

Police also arrested a Chinese doctor working in the clinic despite having no license to practice medicine in the country.

The raid happened a week after police arrested two Chinese nationals for illegally operating a makeshift hospital at a villa in Fontana Leisure in Clark Freeport, Pampanga.

“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 said.

“I will therefore ask the NBI and the BI to help the police in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them,” the justice chief said, adding that if warranted, appropriate charges may be filed against them.

Hontiveros: Deport, blacklist them

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, in a separate statement, called for the immediate deportation and blacklisting of the Chinese nationals arrested in the makeshift medical facilities.

“We should not allow that we are strict with Filipinos but relaxed with Chinese involved in crimes,” she said in Filipino.

"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 added.

Guevarra earlier said he will ask the NBI to step in police probe into the makeshift clinic in Pampanga if reports are proven true that the two Chinese nationals were released shortly after the raid, pending filing of complaints.

He said the two Chinese nationals “should have been brought to the inquest prosecutor instead of being released.”

RELATED: NBI may step in probe into makeshift hospital for Chinese COVID-19 patients

Hontiveros said that these arrested individuals may face charges for the violation of the Food and Drug Administration Law, Medical Act of 1959 and the Hospital Licensure Act.

She called on the government to “double its efforts” in locating these illegally operated clinics as these pose danger to the public health.

"They have zero regulation and can be a source of community transmission... We will be putting communities at risk and waste our quarantine efforts because of these medical facilities," Hontiveros added. — Kristine Joy Patag with report from The STAR/Ghio Ong, Ding Cervantes

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