BAGUIO CITY – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently released the guidelines to be observed by concerned local government units in the conduct of foreign medical or surgical missions by government and private groups in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
In an advisory dated April 6, 2015 addressed to all DILG Regional Directors, specifically for Regions I, VIII, CAR and NCR, Undersecretary Austere A. Panadero cited no foreign missioner shall be allowed to conduct any form of medical and/or surgical mission in the different localities without securing Special Temporary Permits (STPs) from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
“Any head of a government agency or officers of a private firm/institution who will allow foreign health professionals to practice in the country without the said STPs, shall be punished by imprisonment and/or fine under Section 16 of Republic Act (RA) 8981 otherwise known as the PRC Modernization Act of 2000,”Undersecretary Panadero stressed.
The DILG official directed all regional directors to cause the immediate and widest dissemination of the health department’s order to all local government units within their regional jurisdictions.
Earlier, the government allows the conduct of foreign surgical and medical missions in the different parts of the archipelago and it is one of the programs of the Department of Health (DOH) which is designed to allow and accept foreign humanitarian missioners to provide free health care services to underserved communities in the country.
Subsequently, the DOH issued Administrative Order No. 2012-0030, entitled “Guidelines on Foreign Surgical and Medical Missions (FSMM) in Support of Universal Health Care (Kalusugang Pangkalahatan)”dated 20 December 2012 which provides for the specific rules and responsibilities of all stakeholders in the coordination and implementation of a foreign medical and/or surgical mission in partnership with local government units (LGUs), local hospitals and local non-government organizations.
Undersecretary Panadero reminded all local officials in the four regions to strictly adhere to the new guidelines to prevent the imposition of penalties against them once they are found to have violated the mandate of the law.
He explained the issuance of the new guidelines is not to prohibit the numerous conduct of foreign medical and surgical missions but instead regulate the same to be in accordance with existing health standards in the country.
Considering that Region I, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR and Region VIII are usually stricken by disasters and are the strategic areas where foreign medical missions a done, the DILG opted to issue the new guidelines in order to sustain the delivery of quality health care services to the proposed beneficiaries of such missions.
He added the imposition of additional safety nets to existing guidelines is not considered a restraint but instead to uphold the protection of the public in the delivery of health cares services to them so as not to complicate their illnesses that they are experiencing and to prevent individuals from wrongly practicing a profession that they should not practice.