By Corina Oliquino i Contributing Editor

MANILA – Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Richard Gordon announced last April 27 an investigation into the existence of an organization allegedly bringing foreign doctors to practice illegally in the country.

According to ABS-CBN News, Gordon said he received reports Pakistani and Nepalese doctors allegedly serving as medical consultants in several government hospitals in rural areas.

“I am concerned because they are allowed to deal with patients one-on-one, they prescribe medicines. The patients hardly understand them,” Gordon said in a statement.

“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,” the statement read, with Gordon adding his office first noticed the issue at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo City.

“Una, Chinese workers ang kumokompetensya sa mga (construction) workers natin, ngayon mga doktor naman,” the lawmaker said.

“Under the law, only the Professional Regulation Commission is authorized to issue licenses or special temporary permit to foreign professionals who desire to practice their professions in the country under reciprocity and other international agreements,” ABS-CBN reported.

Stricter rules on foreign workers
In another report by The Philippine Star, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Representative Jericho Nograles is seeking stricter rules on hiring foreign workers.

“The influx of workers from other countries will continue to increase if we do not protect the Filipino laborer,” Nograles said.

“There should be stringent rules on the employment of foreigners and harsh penalties for those who will prefer them. That is my proposal,” Nograles added, urging employers to recruit foreign nationals “only if no Filipino applicant is qualified.”

Nograles’ proposed rules are contained in a bill he filed with his brother, Cabinet Sec. Carlo Nograles, in 2018, which was approved on final reading in November by the House of Representatives.

Under the bill, employers who illegally hire a foreign worker will face imprisonment from six months to six years and a fine of up to PHP 100,000, with the foreign worker deported.

The bill will mandate the Department of Labor and Employment to issue implementing rules and regulations.