Press Release
June 30, 2020

De Lima alarmed over increasing discoveries of
underground health facilities for Chinese patients

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed alarm over the increasing discoveries of underground health facilities catering exclusively to Chinese nationals in the country, and the failure of authorities to file appropriate cases against offenders.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 452 which seeks to ensure that these illegal operations would not further impair and jeopardize the government's continuing medical response to COVID-19 and determine the accountability for the failure to duly prosecute and/or initiate deportation proceedings against the offenders.

"These illegal healthcare facilities not only undermine our laws on medical practice, but likewise jeopardize our COVID-19 program by hiding the persons suspected of having COVID-19," she said.

"This is not only an alarming attempt to underreport COVID-19 cases and to further complicate the ongoing government medical response -- which at present is already problematic -- but also another instance of the government putting at greater risk the public health and safety," she added.

Last April 27, authorities have raided two illegal clinics and a stockroom in Paranaque City which housed boxes of medicines and medical supplies from China, including medicines being sold as "treatment" for COVID-19 Chinese patients.

Last May 18, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided a makeshift medical facility catering to Chinese patients inside the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark Special Economic Zone in Zambales where they discovered around 200 COVID-19 rapid test kits, syringes and unsanitized volumes of hospital wastes as recovered in the trash bin, among others.

Two Chinese nationals, who failed to present any license for their operations, were arrested in the May 18 operation, but released on the same day without any charges filed against them.

Less than a month after, on May 26, another illegal facility was discovered in Makati City which almost has the same scheme with that of the illicit hospital in Clark.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, said the failure to immediately file the appropriate cases against the Chinese nationals apprehended in Fontana Leisure Park need to be examined for possible malfeasance or nonfeasance on the part of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

"While our Bureau of Immigration (BI) was tough against Sister Patricia Fox, in spite of her years of service to many of our countrymen, or Javier Parra, for his altercation with law enforcers, it appears that the same zeal is not being displayed against the Chinese nationals who are caught in flagrante delicto operating illegal hospitals," she lamented.

"Such brazen disregard for our laws and public health and safety deserves no less than full legal response from our law enforcement agencies to show that our country will not tolerate the same and ensure that the same will not be easily repeated," she added.

It can be recalled that BI ordered Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox to leave the country for allegedly participating in protest rallies in July 2018 while the bureau filed deportation charges against Spanish resident of Dasmariñas Village, Makati City Javier Parra for "undesirability" and for "overstaying" last May.

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