MANILA- Former Health Secretary Janette Garin on Thursday said she did not stop operations of a clinic that lawmakers believe may be funding terror groups in the country, clarifying statements made by her successor Paulyn Ubial.
Speaking to ANC on Thursday, Garin said she did not order a halt on the operations of Winston Q8 and instead ordered to stop the operations of the Gulf Cooperation Council-Accredited Medical Clinics Association (Gamca).
“I did not order any stoppage for the operations of Winston Q8 because the Department of Health cannot do it,” she said.
“What I ordered was the stoppage of the Gamca or the GPP Accredited Medical Clinics Association,” she said.
Ubial earlier said that when she assumed office, Garin had already issued an order for Winston Q8 to stop operating, but that the order was not implemented. She denied that she had allowed the resumption of the clinic's operations.
Winston Q8 processed the health certifications of Kuwait-bound overseas Filipino workers.
"When I came in, I thought Winston Q8 stopped operating because there was an order from the former health secretary, then I found out in September that they were still operating. I made another issuance order for them to close down. Unfortunately, I think that also was not implemented because, at that time, our director for the Health Facilities Regulations Bureau was actually dismissed from service because of an Ombudsman case," Ubial previously said.
Garin explained that Ubial may have mixed up Gamca with Winston Q8 since both entities process health certification.
She added that she ordered the stoppage of Gamca’s operations because they were creating a “monopoly” on the clinics for overseas Filipino workers.
Gamca covered 21 different clinics before its operations were halted, while Winston Q8 tried to operate and credit eight clinics which were not part of Gamca before, Garin said.
She added that Winston Q8 may have been able to operate again because it took advantage of the transition period after Gamca’s operations were halted.
“I was not at the Department of Health during that time but my guess is that they took advantage of the transition,” Garin said.
CTS OFW party-list Representative Aniceto Bertiz III said Hussein Al-Dhafiri, a suspected Islamic State member who was arrested in Taguig in March and deported to Kuwait in April, owned Winston Q8.