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POEA warns OFWs on suspended medical clinics

THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has warned overseas job seekers against going to medical clinics whose accreditations were suspended by the Department of Health for their medical fitness certification.

The POEA advised would-be overseas Filipino workers not to go to the following medical clinics: ABAKKUS MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES, Calatagan St., Makati City; AGONCILLO MEDICAL CLINIC, Agoncillo St., Malate, Manila; RUBEN C. BARTOLOME, M.D. CLINIC INC., Nakpil St., Malate, Manila; GLOBAL MEDICAL CLINIC, INC., Mabini St., Malate, Manila; ORION MEDICAL AND DIAGNOSTIC CENTER; P. Hidalgo St., Malate, Manila ; OUR HEALTH MEDICAL AND DIAGNOSTIC CENTER, Malate, Manila; OUR LADY OF ALL NATIONS XRAY, LABORATORY, MEDICAL AND DENTAL CLINIC, Remedios St., Malate, Manila; and SAN MARCELINO MEDICAL CLINIC, Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila.

“The Department of Health has suspended the operation of these eight medical facilities for overseas workers and seafarers pending investigation into the alleged monopoly in the conduct of pre-employment medical tests for OFWs bound for Kuwait,” the POEA explained.

The POEA also ordered licensed recruitment and manning agencies to refrain from sending their applicants to the suspended clinics until their suspension is lifted by the DoH.
    
The DoH issued the suspension order last March 9, ordering the medical facilities to cease and desist from operating their medical facilities for OFWs effective March 10, 2017 on charges of operating a monopoly and restricting the freedom of OFWs to choose the medical clinic they want.
    
The continued operation of the suspended clinics, exclusively chosen by Winston Q8 Certifications, Inc. a local subsidiary of Winston Kuwait, allegedly defies a DoH circular and violates provisions of R.A, 8042 as amended by R.A. 10022 which prohibits the monopoly of certain groups of clinics to conduct medical examinations for certain receiving countries
    
If the medical facilities would be allowed to resume operation, thousands of OFWs would be subjected again to the practice of Winston Q8 of requiring a deposit of P5,483 to their Metro bank account before an OFW is allowed to be examined by any of the medical clinics affiliated with Winston Q8.
    
The DoH also required the medical clinics to explain why their accreditation should not be revoked.
    
The overseas recruitment industry claimed that the Winston Medical System, which took effect on August 5, 2016, has collected more than P100 million in medical fees from 20,000 Filipino workers deployed to Kuwait from August 2016 to February 2017.
   
The Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait has strongly opposed the medical system imposed by the Kuwait Embassy and the new visa application procedure which has jacked up the costs of processing OFWs to Kuwait from P15,000 to 16,000 from the earlier costs of only less than P7,000.