Makati shuts down COVID clinic
Ghio Ong, Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - May 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati government has padlocked a drugstore company raided by authorities for allegedly illegally operating as a medical facility and catering to Chinese believed to be infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Mayor Abby Binay said yesterday.

Personnel from the city’s business permits and licensing office (BPLO) shut down Goldstar Clinic and Pharmacy Corp., which occupied the entire fifth floor of the New Lasema Spa Building along Sampaloc street in Barangay San Antonio.

Binay said the facility has been operating without business permit.

“The BPLO has been conducting inspections of businesses in the city to ensure their compliance with measures, which aim to curb the transmission of COVID-19,” Binay said.

Police raided the clinic after medical waste were found leaking from the premises.

David Lai, 49, supposedly a doctor, and his assistant Liao Songhua, alias Bruce Liao, 41, were arrested for allegedly treating their compatriots infected with COVID-19.

Police said they recovered rapid test kits, medical equipment and medicines worth around P5.2 million. The supplies have labels all printed in Chinese.

Four Chinese reportedly manifesting symptoms of the virus were found in the clinic, authorities said.

NBI crackdown

Following the discovery of illegal clinics in Makati and Clark in Pampanga, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to crack down on such facilities operating in the country amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Guevarra directed the NBI and Bureau of Immigration to tap their resources and help the police in locating other “underground” health facilities.

“It seems that clandestine clinics catering mostly to foreigners have sprouted and operating without the necessary permits. Considering that they are not being supervised by the government, the health of people who seek treatment in these illegal facilities is being compromised,” he said.

On May 19, operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group arrested two foreigners during a raid on an unlicensed medical facility at the Fontana Resort in Clark, Pampanga, which exclusively accommodated Chinese patients.

ABBY BINAY
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