Raps filed vs. Chinese nationals caught in raided underground COVID-19 clinics in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 5, 2020   •   550

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)

Filipinos abroad with COVID-19 now at 9,607 – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2020

The number of Filipinos overseas who have contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has increased to 9,607 with 10 new infections, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

In its latest bulletin, the DFA said 28 more Filipinos have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 5,681.

The death toll remained at 693, it added.

“As we continue to battle against this pandemic, the DFA rallies the Filipinos here and abroad to cooperate and responsibly adhere to precautionary measures of the local health authorities of the respective countries in which they reside,” the department said in a statement.

The DFA also reported that 3,233 are undergoing treatment.

Of this number, 254 are in the Asia Pacific Region, 512 in Europe, 2,327 in the Middle East and Africa, and 140 in the Americas, it added.

Mandaluyong LGU puts city under special concern lockdown

Maris Federez   •   August 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Mandaluyong has put all barangays in the city under special concern lockdown amid the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila.

Eleven barangays in the city are classified as areas of special concern by the local government due to high cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

But with the reversion of the National Capital Region (NCR) to MECQ on Tuesday (Aug. 4), the Mandaluyong government decided to put the whole city on special concern lockdown.

Mandaluyong’s Executive Order (EO) No 24 stated that under special concern lockdown, stricter curfew measures will be implemented from 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

Only individuals classified as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) will be allowed to go out.

The city government is also mulling over applying the previous MECQ guidelines anew, such as on scheduling market days in every barangay.

With the start of the curfew on Tuesday night, the local government advises those who work on graveyard shifts to secure a work pass from their employers.  

“Yung mga work passes kasi ang requirements lang naman niyan per barangay is to ahow to the barangay their ano certificate of employment. para atleast kahit papaano, makapasok sila sa trabaho nila,” said Jimmy Isidro, the Mandaluyong City government chief of staff.

The city government is also considering enforcing liquor ban in the area anew during the MECQ.

Employees at the Mandaluyong City Hall are also on a skeleton workforce to receive documents and transactions as business in the city is open as usual. — (with details from Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

Former gov’t COVID-19 special adviser calls for voluntary ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   August 4, 2020

Dr. Tony Leachon

MANILA, Philippines — Former Covid-19 National Task Force Adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said he recommended the re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila when he was invited to the Malacañan Palace on July 15.

Last weekend, medical professionals expressed the same recommendation to the national government in hopes of stopping the mounting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

But because of economic considerations, the government has decided to reinforce modified ECQ instead.

Leachon said he welcomes this decision.

“The MECQ has activity and mobility of 50 percent. It will not totally stop the transmission,” he noted.

“But we will observe in the next two weeks whether the MECQ will arrest the transmission,” he added.

He explained that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is alarming considering that there are unreported cases, or even deaths linked to the new coronavirus.

“When they go to the emergency room they are severely sick then would be intubated and they die, or they are rejected from the hospital so they die at home, or they don’t have access to RT-PCR because it’s expensive” Leachon explained.

So ang daming namamatay diyan na ganyan (So, many cases die that way )” he added.

At this point of the pandemic, Leachon is calling on the public to submit themselves to a voluntary ECQ especially the old and the sick.

Tayo na ang magboluntaryo mismo na huwag na tayo makadagdag. Ang lumabas na lang ay iyong talagang kailangang lumabas, iyong 50% ng workforce (Let’s take it upon ourselves not to add to the problem. Only those who need to go out should be outside, such as 50% of the workforce),” Leachon advised.

“Pero iyong iba, iyong 25% doon sa GCQ ay huwag na po. Huwag na, kasi kapag nagkasakit kayo wala ng pera nga ang government tapos baka magkasakit pa ang mga doktor (But others, the 25% in the GCQ areas, it’s better not to go out. Refrain from going out because once you get sick, the government no longer has funds and worse, the doctors might get sick as well)” he stressed.

Dr. Leachon also highlights the importance of adhering to the minimum health standards, including wearing a face mask and face shield, and using disinfectant for protection. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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