De Lima slams gov’t protectors, Chinese operators behind illegal medical facilities


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed alarm over the discovery of illegal medical facilities catering only for Chinese nationals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

De Lima said she believes these illegal hospitals aim to circumvent detection of COVID-19 infection among Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) workers and shield Mr. Duterte from public outrage for allowing the reopening of POGOs.

“First in Parañaque; now inside Fontana Leisure Park in Pampanga. How many of these underground hospitals and pharmacies catering only to Chinese nationals — possibly for COVID-infected POGO workers as was the case in Parañaque — are operating right under government’s very nose?”, she asked in her Dispatch from Crame No. 800.

Kataka-taka namang magsulputang animo’y kabute ang mga ito sa mismong bakuran natin nang hindi alam ng gobyerno na sya namang protektor ng POGO. May secret jail na sa tokhang, may secret hospital pa sa mga Chinese. Ano-ano pa kayang mga sikreto mayroon ang gobyernong ito?” she added.

Based on media reports, authorities have raided a makeshift medical facility catering to Chinese patients inside the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark Special Economic Zone in Zambales last May 20. Two Chinese nationals were reportedly arrested during the raid.

Prior to this, the local government of Parañaque discovered an illegal health facility exclusive for Chinese nationals where unregistered medicines for COVID-19 and sexually transmitted diseases were said to be found last April.

Kaya pala walang napapaulat na kaso ng COVID-19 sa hanay ng POGO, dahil sadyang itinatago at kung saan-saan dinadalang palihim ang mga maysakit. At ang pinagdadalhan ay mga lugar pa na malapit sa komunidad,” said the lady Senator.

Aside from the attempt to underreport COVID-19 cases and to further compromise the ongoing medical response for COVID-19, De Lima said the operations of illegal hospitals are another instance of the government putting at greater risk the public health and safety just to favor business and political interests of those benefitting from POGO operations.

Para lang mamayagpag ang POGO, kahit ipahamak ang mga Pilipino. Hindi ito katanggap-tanggap!” she said.

“All these suggest impunity for these Chinese operators and connivance with some government personalities, if not outright protection from higher office, possibly as high there in Malacañang. Ano bang mayroon sa mga sindikato at sugarol na ito at napaka-inutil ng gobyerno laban sa kanila?” she asked.

During the 17th Congress, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 751 to investigate the surge of Chinese workers in the Philippines, notably in the POGO industry, which steals the jobs from Filipinos and rakes up the prices of real estate properties in the country.

She also asked her Senate colleagues through Senate Resolution No. 1030 to look into the reported failure of POGO firms to comply with government regulations on foreign workers, notably in paying appropriate taxes, a fact admitted by no less than the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) (30)

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