On the latest remarks on the healthcare workers

This pertains to the remarks made during my August 24 press briefing, to wit, “Konting tiyaga lang po. Take advantage of the opportunity na rin po to prove your worth in the Philippines as clinical nurses.”

The aforesaid remarks, if taken separately from the main response, would be subject to misinterpretation. We, therefore, hope that proper context is given to see the entire picture.

The transcript would bear me out that it was very clear from the message and the intent of my response that I asked Filipino healthcare workers to first gain clinical experience in the Philippines, especially during this time of COVID-19. And by equipping/acquiring themselves with the skills and competence their profession entails, they have not only helped our people during this time of global health emergency crisis, but they, too, would have been provided the work experience that would open doors for opportunities for overseas employment.

We salute our healthcare workers for their dedicated and compassionate service in our battle against COVID-19. We consider them our modern-day heroes as they have responded to the call of duty during these challenging times.

Attached below is the pertinent portion of the transcript, for reference.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, USec. Vergeire. Ang tanong naman po ni Aiko Miguel ng UNTV, nasagot ninyo na rin po, USec. Vergeire, about sa iyong reaction ng DOH sa UP-OCTA research group. Ang tanong naman po ni Jovy [?] ng Inquirer para kay USec. Vergeire po about iyong lifting ng deployment ban for HCWs: Is DOH inclined daw po to recommend the lifting of the ban? Isn’t it counterproductive to keep HCWs in the country if a number of them don’t want to apply in the emergency hiring program? Also remittances from OFW HCWs will not only help their struggling families but also the economy.

SEC. ROQUE: Sa panig naman po ng Presidente at ng IATF, ang unang-unang konsiderasyon po ng Presidente ay pangalagaan po ang kalusugan ng ating mga health workers dahil ang pupuntahan po nila ay mas malala pong kaso ng COVID-19.

We are number 22 in the world as far as number of COVID cases, at halos lahat po ng aalis ay going to places na mas marami pong mga kaso ng COVID doon.

Pangalawa po, charity begins at home; mayroon naman po tayong mga bakanteng mga posisyon, dito po muna po tayo sana po magtrabaho.

And speaking as someone with experience in the recruitment industry of nurses, iyong mga bagong graduates po at saka iyong mga hindi na po clinical, kinakailangan po kung gusto ninyong magtrabaho abroad, magkaroon po kayo ng clinical experience dito. Sa tingin ko po, kapag kayo po ay nag-apply dito sa emergency recruitment ng ating gobyerno at nagtrabaho po habang may COVID, naku, pag-aagawan po kayo lalo kapag natapos na itong pandemic na ito dahil with your clinical experience at the time of COVID, you will become po the subject of head hunters.

So, kaunting tiyaga lang po but take advantage of the opportunity na rin po to prove your worth in the Philippines as clinical nurses.