Underground COVID-19 hospitals exclusive for Chinese patients probed by CIDG

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) is looking into the reported continued operation of some underground hospitals that are exclusively catering to Chinese patients infected with COVID-19.

Police Brig. Gen. Rhoderick Armamento, deputy director for administration of PNP-CIDG, said they received reports about the existence of illegal COVID treatment facilities in Central Luzon (Region 3), Metro Manila, and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) or Region 4-A.

"We are validating the reports that we have received and our intelligence build-up operations are on-going. We have reports not only in Region 3 but also in Metro Manila and Region 4-A," Armamento said.

Local consumer group Alliance for Consumer and Protection of Environment (ACAPE) Inc. had earlier urged the police to investigate the alleged underground hospitals.

ACAPE slammed the alleged special treatment being given by the government in allowing the continued operation of the medical facilities.

Armamento acknowledged the concern of the group as he said they have discovered a makeshift hospital in Pampanga last May 19 that was treating Chinese nationals with respiratory problems.

The seven-bed facility was located at the Fontana Leisure Park inside the Clark Freeport Zone which was converted to a treatment facility.

It was discovered that husband and wife Hu Ling, alleged owner of the facility, and Lee Seung-Hyun, alleged pharmacist, had no proper documents to run the converted clinic.

Used syringes and other medical wastes that were improperly disposed were also found by the raiding team.

Armamento said charges for violation of Republic Act 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act and RA 2382 or the Medical Act of 1995 have been filed against the suspects.

In a follow-up operation, another underground clinic and a warehouse where the medicines were being stored were discovered by the CIDG in Pampanga.

"This (matter) is very critical because these clinics are operating illegally. If we won't find them, their patients might spread the virus since they are not being subjected to quarantine. Pumupunta lang sila doon para magpacheck pero hindi sila nagku-quarantine (They only go to these clinics for a check up but they are not subjected to quarantine procedures)," Armamento said.