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Gordon seeks probe on foreign doctors working in local hospitals without permit

Senator Richard Gordon has called for a probe into a "syndicate" that allegedly facilitates the entry and employment of foreign doctors who practice medicine as medical consultants in certain hospitals even without the necessary permits.

In a statement issued Saturday, Gordon said this was a violation of the reciprocity requirement under Republic Act 2382, or The Medical Act of 1959, and Republic Act No. 8981, or the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) Modernization Act of 2000.

Gordon said he bumped into the racket allegedly employed by a syndicate right at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital, a government hospital in Olongapo City, wherein he said "several doctors of Pakistani or Nepalese citizenships have been practicing medicine as medical consultants."

The senator, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said he has received several complaints about the foreign doctors.

“I am concerned because they are allowed to deal with patients on a one-on-one basis, they prescribe medicines. The patients hardly understand them. Marami na kong natanggap na reklamo tungkol dito na nakumpirma namin," his statement read.

"Are they supervised by Filipino doctors? Are they even allowed to practice medicine here? As I understand it, we only have a reciprocity principal with Japan, Spain and the United States, including ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangements," it added.

"Una, Chinese workers ang kumukumpetensya sa mga workers natin, ngayon mga doktor naman."

The senator also emphasized: "Dapat matigil ito because this concerns the health and well-being of the public and I fear that this is being practiced not just in Olongapo but in other areas too."

GMA News Online is still trying to reach the Olongapo hospital for comment.

RA 8981

In his statement, Gordon pointed out that under Section 7 (j) of RA 8981, the Professional Regulatory Commission was empowered to "approve the registration of and authorize the issuance of a certificate of registration/license and professional identification card…to a foreigner who is registered under the laws of his state or country and whose certificate of registration issued therein has not been suspended or revoked."

"Provided, that, the requirements for the registration or licensing in said foreign state or country are substantially the same as those required and contemplated by the laws of the Philippines and that the laws of such foreign state or country allow the citizens of the Philippines to practice the profession on the same basis and grant the same privileges as those enjoyed by the subjects or citizens of such foreign state or country," the law continued.

Gordon also noted that the same provision "also allows the PRC to authorize the issuance of a certificate of registration/license or a special temporary permit to foreign professionals who desire to practice their professions in the country under reciprocity and other international agreements; consultants in foreign-funded, joint venture or foreign-assisted projects of the government, employees of Philippine or foreign private firms or institutions pursuant to law, or health professionals engaged in humanitarian mission for a limited period of time."

However, the lawmaker adds, "the agencies, organizations or individuals whether public or private, who secure the services of a foreign professional authorized by law to practice in the Philippines for reasons aforementioned, shall be responsible for securing a special permit from the Professional Regulation Commission and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), pursuant to PRC and DOLE rules."

Finally, Gordon notes that the law "also empowers the PRC to file a criminal complaint against the head of the government agency or officers of the said private entity/institution, who shall be liable under the penalty provided for in the concerned professional regulatory law or the penalty imposed pursuant to this Act, when the professional was hired and allowed to practice his/her profession without permit; and to file, upon due process, a request for deportation with the Bureau of Immigration." — MDM, GMA News