The COVID-19 testing in BF Homes, Parañaque City, involving 300 Chinese nationals working at a Philippine offshore gaming operation was illegal, officials said Sunday.
Barangay officials of BF Homes said the homeowners were the ones who allowed the foreigners to be tested inside the subdivision.
Residents urged Mayor Edwin Olivarez to investigate and punish the officials of the BF Federation of Homeowners Associations Inc. led by Arturo Astorga II, who reportedly allowed the activity last Thursday.
Community leaders claimed that the mass testing was conducted without permits from the Department of Health and the City Health Office.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, has urged the government to deport and blacklist all Chinese nationals involved in criminal activities.
“While we are working hard to protect our people from the [COVID-19] virus, these criminals freely roam and pose danger to public health. This blatant disregard of our laws should merit immediate deportation and blacklisting,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
She made her call after the raid of various establishments in Parañaque, Pampanga and Makati that were found to be illegally operating as hospitals and pharmacies, and that were primarily catering to the employees of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators and Chinese nationals.
Hontiveros said the underground and unlicensed medical facilities posed a danger to public health.
Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez said the BFFHAI officers involved also did not seek permission from village officials or the city health office.
“The Paranaque City government trough the city health office will facilitate the necessary actions to account to those who are responsible for possible breaches of existing protocols, policies and relevant regulations,” Marquez said.
He reminded Astorga that the testing for the COVID-19 disease could only be done by government-accredited testing centers and the city health office.
Astorga said they did the tests with the health and safety of their constituents as their “primary considerations”.
He apologized to Olivarez, but claimed that “securing a local government unit permit was not actually required per Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infections Diseases guidelines.”