Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial expressed her willingness to cooperate with any investigation by proper authorities to look into allegations the DOH sanctioned the continuing operations of Winston Q8, a Philippine-based but Kuwaiti-owned visa processing company. Winston Q8 was reported to have links with ISIS. Such insinuations against DOH Secretary Ubial as having “ties” with ISIS as propounded by critics in the House of Representatives are not only false but highly malicious and libelous.

On May 9, 2017, the DOH through the Office of Health Regulations and Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau (HFSRB) already revoked the accreditation of medical clinics contracted by Winston Q8 due to violations of existing laws. Eight (8) medical clinics have since ceased from operating. DOH has no authority over Winston Q8.
Winston Q8 was not even transacting any business prior to Secretary Ubial’s appointment as DOH Secretary. Therefore, claims that then Secretary Garin already stopped the operations of Winston Q8 are false news. Based upon the DOH investigation, the Kuwaiti embassy here in Manila sanctioned the operations of Winston Q8 only last August 2016.

On September 13, 2016, the HFSRB thru Office for Health Regulations of the DOH convened a meeting with Winston Q8 representatives with the other National Regulatory Agencies (DFA, POEA) to investigate on the reported activities of Winston Q8. On September 23, 2016, Department Circular # 2016-0267 was issued prohibiting all OFW Clinics from collecting additional medical certification and visa accreditation fees on behalf of Winston Q8. The DOH opined OFWs must get full protection on their rights to choose relevant Medical Clinics for screening. The collusion between these clinics and Winston Q8 had to stop. The anomalous involvement of Winston Q8 in such nefarious activities was referred to other government agencies.

On March 9, 2017, the DOH issued a PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION order to the eight (8) involved OFW medical clinics after receiving complaints of their continued activities despite the earlier directives. These clinics were accorded due process through official notifications and meetings with the HFSRB.

On May 9, 2017, Secretary Ubial issued a final closure order prohibiting the eight Medical Facilities for Overseas Workers and Seafarers accredited by Winston Q8 from operating in the Philippines, after they were found to have continuously violated Administrative Order (A.O.) no. 2011-0015 and its amendment. These official issuances serve as the DOH mechanism for implementing Republic Act (R.A.) no. 8042 as amended by R.A. no. 10022, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.”  

“It is clear and of common knowledge to anyone involved in the industry that the DOH under my watch definitely shut down Winston Q8, and never at any time facilitated their continued operation in the Philippines,” Secretary Ubial pointed out.
The Health Chief also expressed: “It should be understood by all that we at the DOH cannot have people or companies that we like and those that we don’t like when we deal with sectors who we serve. We have to deal with everyone justly and fairly as we are tasked to in our jobs as public servants. The culture of favoritism and patronage politics that government is often associated with is one of the major things that we, in the DOH, are striving to eliminate.”
The DOH Secretary pointed out how fabricating and disseminating “fake news” of this kind not only reflects very badly on the character and integrity of these perpetrators, but also maligns the public servants who are unjustly criticized for something they never did.

“We welcome any investigation, it will clear our name. My conscience is clear. I have not done anything wrong. I love this country and will continue to protect and uphold its interest and safety,” the DOH Secretary concluded.