The Mayor of Angeles City Carmelo ‘Pogi’ Lazatin was receiving criticisms on social media after he ordered the closure of a private hospital for accepting a c̶o̶r̶o̶n̶a̶v̶i̶r̶u̶s̶ patient from another place.
According to the City Information Office of Angeles City, the Philippine Rehabilitation Institute (PRI) in Barangay Pampang admitted a c̶o̶r̶o̶n̶a̶v̶i̶r̶u̶s̶ positive and three people under investigation from Quezon City which according to Lazatin is against the agreement between his government and the hospital.
He accused PRI of endangering the people of Angeles, that’s why he ordered the total lockdown of the hospital.
“PRI has put the entire Angeles City in danger. Pinalusutan nila tayo ng positive patient na hindi taga rito,” Lazatin said.
Lazatin also ordered the Business Permit and Licensing Divison to immediately revoke the business permit of PRI.
“The city government will also prepare legal actions against PRI for putting the entire Angeles City in danger. Under my term, hindi na mabubuksan yang hospital na yan,” Lazatin said.
Mayor Pogi also ordered the law enforcers in Angeles to be more strict in guarding the borders of the city.
“Wala na pong makakapasok sa syudad Angeles maliban na lamang sa pagkain, medical emergency na hindi connected sa COVID 19 at yung iilang nakasaad sa direktiba ng DILG,” Lazatin said.
Lazatin also deployed policemen and barangay tanods to make sure that no one could get out of PRI building, even if they’re nurses or doctors.
Meanwhile, PRI said in a statement that they’re the only private hospital in Angeles City agreed to become the COVID-19 center.
They also said that the agreement between their hospital and Angeles City was not finalized because of the lack of support from the LGU.
“Since the first meeting on March 19, 2020, PRI Medical Center got 1 gallon of alcohol and one infrared scanner from the Local Government Unit,” the statement read.
PRI also informed the Mayor that they could not refuse any patients, citing their Hippocratic Oath to treat anyone regardless of race, religion, and ethnicity.
The hospital also narrated that all the hospital staffs were in full PPE gear when the patients from Quezon City arrived.
According to them, the patients include a 66-year old cardiologist, his wife, his nephew, and his driver.
They also assured the people of Angeles that they did proper security measures to ensure the safety of the communities near the hospital.
Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminded local government officials that they have no right to close down any hospitals.
“Hindi pupuwede ‘yun. May mga procedures naman tayo kung papaano ihahandle ‘yung isang PUI (person under investigation) o positive COVID patient. ‘Yan ay global problem, hindi pupuwede ‘yung ‘babakuran namin ito,'” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a Dobol B sa News TV interview.
“Lalo ngayon kailangan natin ang lahat ng Level 2, Level 3 hospitals, may atas ang DOH (Department of Health) na ready silang tumanggap ng COVID patients,” he added.
Año said that they already talked with Lazatin about the issue and already decided to allow the PRI to operate again.
The DILG Sec also urged all LGUs to help each other amid the crisis being faced by the country.