CIDG raids illegal COVID hospital in Pampanga
Ding Cervantes, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - May 21, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Police raided on Tuesday a clandestine hospital at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga said to be treating Chinese citizens infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

Wearing personal protective equipment, agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) swooped down on the medical facility at Fontana Leisure Parks at around 1:30 p.m.

Hu Ling, 44, the alleged supervisor of the facility and pharmacist Lee Seung Hyun, 38, were arrested. They were brought to the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional headquarters at Camp Olivas in San Fernando City.

The suspects are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act and RA 2382 also known as the Medical Act.

Police said Lee Wang, a suspected COVID-19 patient confined in the facility, was transferred to an undisclosed hospital.

Various drugs with Chinese markings and hospital wastes, such as syringes, were found at the scene.

Brig. Gen. Rhoderick Armamento, CIDG deputy director for administration, said they conducted the raid after receiving information that a residential villa was converted into a seven-bed hospital.

Armamento said the CIDG coordinated with the Department of Health and Food and Drug Administration for the operation.

He said they are looking for those who were treated in the hospital as they could still be infected with COVID-19.

“Akala nila magaling na sila pero yun pala patuloy silang nanghahawa dahil sa pagkakaakalang nagamot na sila,” Armamento said in an interview over GMA News.

Track down patients

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to help identify and track down those who sought treatment in the makeshift health facility.

“I have instructed the BI to coordinate with the PNP and local government unit in tracking down these Chinese and other nationals who sought treatment from this unauthorized medical facility in Pampanga and who could still be dangerously roaming around,” Guevarra said.

“If found, they will be brought to legitimate hospitals or quarantine facilities for proper treatment without prejudice to charging those responsible for this illegal operation,” he said.

Fontana closed

The state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC), which manages the freeport, ordered the closure of Fontana following the raid.

Noting that operation of a makeshift medical facility should have not been allowed within the property, the CDC said the management of Fontana would be held accountable.

”The operation of the makeshift hospital is not only a violation of existing laws but also poses danger to individuals who need medical treatment for COVID-19,” the CDC said.

“We assure Clark stakeholders, the locators, local communities and residents that we will not stop until all those involved are prosecuted and punished,” it added. Ric Sapnu, Evelyn Macairan, Louella Desiderio

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