WHO AUTHORIZES FOREIGN DOCTORS TO TAKE THEIR RESIDENCY HERE? – GORDON WANTS TO KNOW

After recently exposing a racket that enables foreign doctors to practice medicine here as residents or medical consultants even if they don't have the necessary permits and came from countries not covered by the reciprocity principle that allows doctors from certain countries to practice their profession here, Senator Richard J. Gordon wants to dig deeper to determine who is authorizing the illegal practice.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, pointed out that while the Professional Regulatory Commission under Republic Act No. 8981, or the "PRC (Professional Regulatory Commission) Modernization Act of 2000" has the power to supervise foreign nationals who are authorized by existing laws to practice their professions either as holders of a certificate of registration and a professional identification card or a temporary special permit in the Philippines, Section 12 of Republic Act No. 2382, or The Medical Act Of 1959 limits the practice of medicine by foreign doctors without any certificate of registration.

"Who is it who gave the authority to foreign doctors to practice here? Ang PRC ba, ang Immigration ba? We want to investigate that. The law is very clear, they cannot practice. PRC is allowing observer status. But the observer is not only observing, they are already seeing to patients. We cannot allow that. I want to know who is giving authority. This is a racket because foreign doctors, such as Nepalese and Pakistani doctors, pay certain people in the hospital and they are allowed from the mayor down to the hospital. And they also pay somebody rental fees. Somebody is able to get them and they pay rental fees just to be able to become a resident in a hospital," he said.

Section 12 states that certificates of registration shall not be required of the following persons: physicians and surgeons from other countries called in consultation only and exclusively in specific and definite cases, or those attached to international bodies or organization assigned to perform certain definite work in the Philippines provided they shall limit their practice to the specific work assigned to them and provided further they shall secure a previous authorization from the Board of Medical Examiners; commissioned medical officers of the United States armed forces stationed in the Philippines while rendering service as such only for the members of the said armed forces and within the limit of their own respective territorial jurisdiction.

Also exempted are Foreign physicians employed as exchange professors in special branches of medicine or surgery whose service may in the discretion of the Board of Medical Education, be necessary; and medical students who have completed the first four years of medical course, graduates of medicine and registered nurses who may be given limited and special authorization by the Secretary of Health to render medical services during epidemics or national emergencies whenever the services of duly registered physicians are not available. Such authorization shall automatically cease when the epidemic or national emergency is declared terminated by the Secretary of Health.

The Philippine has a reciprocity principal only with Japan, Spain and the United States, and ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangements.

After stumbling on the racket right at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital, a government hospital in Olongapo City, wherein several doctors of Pakistani or Nepalese citizenships have been practicing medicine as medical consultants, Gordon has received numerous complaints against the said practice.

"I am concerned because they are allowed to deal with patients on a one-on-one basis and they prescribe medicines. One complainant said they had to get an interpreter because they could not understand what the Nepalese doctor was saying about his relative's condition. He also complained that they are even doing internal procedures on a woman giving birth. Many husbands and fathers are discomfited because the OB-Gyne department was manned by a foreigner male doctor. Try that in a Moslem country, they'll cut off your head. Tsaka they also pose a security threat," he deplored.

Source: Senate of the Philippines