President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has approved the lifting of the temporary suspension in the overseas deployment of nurses, nursing aides, and nursing assistants following the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
The temporary ban was issued as set forth in the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) Governing Board Resolution No. 9 series of 2020, which was issued in consideration of the prevailing national state of emergency and COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
“Nung in-impose po ito, ang katotohanan naman po, kasagsagan po yan ng coronavirus, at ang unang konsiderasyon ng ating Presidente ay pangalagaan yung kalusugan ng ating mga mamamayan na magtatrabaho sa mga lugar na mas marami pang COVID cases kung ikukumpara dito sa atin sa Pilipinas,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr at a press briefing on November 23.
The POEA’s Governing Board Resolution No. 9 supports the national objective to control the spread of COVID-19 through the regulation in the deployment of Filipino health care workers and to prioritize human resources allocation for the national healthcare system at the time of a national state of emergency.
The President’s spokesperson further said that there was also a need at that time to ensure that we have enough nurses to help combat COVID-19 in the country. But since the country is already showing a decline in the spread of the virus, and with the vaccine coming soon next year, Sec. Roque said that the President might have considered that those who are looking to improve their lives and livelihood by working abroad, may now do so.
The Palace official confirmed that President Duterte also approved the recommendation to impose an annual deployment ceiling of 5,000 new hires for healthcare workers to all countries of destination beginning on January 1, 2021. This is for occupations which may be identified as mission critical skills by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“Yung 5,000 po ay more or less yan yung estimate ni Sec. [Silvestre] Bello [III] na mga health professionals na nais at pupwede na umalis … So pinapayagan naman po sila para hindi masayang yung kanilang pera na nagastos na sa mga documentation at para dun sa proseso na sila po ay makapag-abroad,” said Secretary Roque.
According to the Palace spokesman, the President and the IATF carefully considered the recommendation before deciding on its approval. “Ipinairal ang balancing of interest kung saan tiningnan ang pangangailangan sa bansa ng mga nurses, nursing assistants, nursing aides habang ikinonsidera rin ang pagkilala ng talento ng mga Pilipino sa ibang bansa at demand sa ating mga kababayan sa ibayong dagat,” said Secretary Roque
The Cabinet official added that the lifting of the deployment ban is in consonance with the government’s policy of promoting full employment, raising the standard of living, and improving quality of life for all.
“Sa pag-aalis ng ban, maaari ng ma-praktis ng healthcare workers ang kanilang propesyon habang napapabuti nila ang buhay ng kanilang pamilya at nakakatulong sa ating lokal na ekonomiya,” Sec. Roque said.
The Palace also assured the public that the lifting of the ban on the deployment of healthcare workers will not impact the country’s own need for health care workers.
“Nung nirequest po yan ng DOLE at ng IATF, hindi muna sumagot agad ang ating Presidente dahil nakipag ugnayan muna siya kay Sec. [Francisco] Duque [III] ng DOH para masigurado nga na sapat ang ating mga nurses dito sa ating bayan. At nagkaroon naman po ng kasiguraduhan ang DOH na sapat po ang ating mga health professionals dito sa Pilipinas,” Roque assured. ### OPS-PCOO