MANILA, Philippines -- The Manila government ordered on Thursday the closure of a blood bank in Sampaloc that has reportedly been operating below standards.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim earlier issued a directive for all blood banks in the city not cleared by the Department of Health to stop operations.
Lim ordered Senior Superintendent Alex Gutierrez, chief of the District Special Projects Unit, to immediately shut the operations of the establishment and make them explain why they continued operating despite his directive.
The local chief executive said he has been receiving reports that several blood banks in the city were operating way below standards.
"I'm only after public safety," Lim said in a statement. "Kailangan nating matiyak na ang operasyon ng mga ito ay nasa wasto at hindi malalagay sa panganib ang sinumang mangangailangan ng dugo mula sa kanila [We should ensure that the operations of these blood banks are proper and would not endanger blood recipients].?
Aside from providing blood to patients, most blood banks also perform tests to determine the blood type of patients and to identify compatible blood products for blood transfusion.
Other blood banks, however, collect blood for transfusion, a task often performed by specialized collecting agencies.
Republic Act 7719 prohibits the operation of commercial blood banks and aims to stop the reckless and unsafe procedure of collecting blood.
Furthermore, the law designates the Philippine National Red Cross and accredited hospitals with required licenses issued by the Department of Health (DoH) to collect, store and distribute safe blood, and operate as blood banks.
A staff at the Fatima Blood Bank refused to comment when contacted by the Inquirer.
Last month, the DoH also issued a closure order to a clinical laboratory illegally operating as a blood bank in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation showed that a person afflicted with the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was able to sell his blood to the laboratory.