MANILA—The Senate is set to probe the existence of an organization allegedly bringing in foreign doctors to the Philippines to illegally practice medicine, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Richard Gordon said Saturday.
Gordon received reports that Pakistani and Nepalese doctors have allegedly been serving as medical consultants in several government hospitals in rural areas.
"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," 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."
Gordon said his office first saw the issue at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital, a government medical facility in Olongapo City.
"Una, Chinese workers ang kumokompetensya sa mga [construction] workers natin, ngayon mga doktor naman," the lawmaker said.
The Senate will look into the controversy to check the extent of the alleged operations in the Philippines.
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."
Gordon's office did not mention when hearings would begin.