MANILA, Philippines – Multiple charges have been filed by authorities against Chinese nationals who were arrested for running medical facilities allegedly treating fellow Chinese infected with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) said charges for the violation of Republic Act (RA) 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act, RA 4226 or the Hospital Licensure Act, and RA 10918 of the Pharmacy Law were filed against the suspects.
The Chinese nationals were arrested after authorities separately raided four structures that were converted into clinics in Parañaque City, Makati City, Angeles City in Pampanga and within the Fontana Resort in Clark City, Pampanga.
On April 26, authorities discovered a clinic containing Chinese medicines which were allegedly being used to treat patients infected with COVID-19.
Parañaque Police said the discovery of the makeshift clinic was accidental after barangay officials reported spotting boxes of medicines with Chinese markings inside the house.
The medicines were found to be illegal as these were not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Local police said the medicines were similar to those being sold on social media.
On May 19, the CIDG raided a villa at the Fontana Leisure Park where they found a makeshift medical facility for Chinese nationals allegedly suffering from coronavirus disease.
Police officers also found boxes of medicines and syringes in the villa.
According to Brigadier General Rhoderick Armamento, a Chinese couple who was allegedly running the facility was arrested during the operation.
“The CIDG was able to file the following cases, violation of RA 9711 ito yung Food and Drug administration Act dahil we found out na nag-prescribe sila ng gamot na hindi naman otorisado ng FDA,” Armamento said.
“Pangalawa yung violations of RA 4229, ito yung hospital licensure act dahil nagpractice sila, ang-admit sila, nag-administer sila ng mga pasyente ng wala namang kaukulang lisensya o permiso galing sa IATF and as well as doon sa ating health authorities. At pangatlo yung violations of RA 10918 o yung pharmacy law,” he added.
Armamento said they couple arrived in the country in November with a working permit.
“Magma-manage sila ng isang hospital, medical facility pero ‘di specific kung saan,” he said.
The CIDG official said over 490 employees and guests of Fontana resort who were present during the raid underwent swab test as they may have come in contact with suspected COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment in the said clinic.
“Continuing pa rin yung lockdown ng Fontana leisure park. We are just waiting for the result as soon as makuha namin yung result ng swabbing ma-find out na natin kung sino ang positive at negative. Then doon na yung magde-determine kung ilang days yung quarantine period noong lugar na yun,” Armamento said.
On May 26, the police raided a Chinese clinic in Barangay San Antonio, Makati City where they found patients undergoing treatment.
Boxes of medicines, COVID-19 test kits and other medical supplies were also seized in the facility.
A Chinese doctor and his companion was arrested after they failed to present a license to operate.
The Makati Police said the operation stemmed from the complaints of residents about their drainage system frequently clogged with syringes.
On May 28, two Chinese nationals, one of whom was a doctor, were arrested by authorities during a raid in a subdivision in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Medicines unregistered with the FDA were also found in the suspected underground facility.
According to PNP chief General Archie Gamboa, they are still investigating the connection between these illegal clinics.
He also called on people wanting to establish clinics amid the COVID-19 crisis to follow the law and coordinate with concerned agencies.
“’Yung mga gustong mag-establish ng hospitals or clinics, please dumaan kayo sa Department of Health para hindi na kayo na kailangang i-raid pa ng Philippine National Police para, anyway ang intention naman natin is para magamot ang ating mga kasamahan,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
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