PNP, NBI join hands vs illegal COVID-19 treatment facilities

THE Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation have joined hands in launching a crackdown on secret COVID-19 treatment facilities in the country mostly catering to Chinese nationals showing symptoms of the killer disease.

PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, said the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the different Police Regional Offices are involved in the crackdown.

The PNP is getting support from the NBI and the Bureau of Immigration in the large-scale operation to unmask the persons behind the maintenance of these underground COVID-19 clinics.

So far, PNP and NBI agents have raided several such secret facilities,  the latest of which took place in Angeles City in Pampanga where combined police, NBI and Food and Drug Administration operatives stormed a pharmacy-cum medical clinic said to be catering to Chinese nationals.

Two Chinese nationals identified as Chen Hai Fan and Chen Zhen Zhong were detained by the NBI following the raid at the Bao An Tang drugstore and the 3-bed clinic in Barangay Anunas in Angeles City. Both are being held for operating without any business license from the city government  and permit from the FDA.

The facilities were said to be offering supposed COVID-19 treatment medicine and even a laboratory testing for their clients.

Last week, the city government ordered the closure of two local hotels for reportedly allowing two Chinese nationals to check in in full violation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he has ordered the NBI and the BI to help police authorities in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them so appropriate charges can be filed against them.

Last Tuesday, another similar secret facility in Makati City was raided with agents arresting Chinese nationals David Lai and Liao Bruce for reportedly practicing medicine in the country without a license from the government.

Those raids likewise resulted in the confiscation of boxes of medicines, vials and swab sticks with Chinese labels, all said to be unlicensed by the FDA.