Medical worker deployment ban to stay as pandemic lasts

Bello: “God forbid, if the level of contamination and transmission will increase here. What will happen to us if all the good nurses are already abroad.”

THE temporary deployment ban of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for medical workers will likely stay until the end of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In an online press briefing on Wednesday, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said he will not recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) the total lifting of the deployment restriction.

“God forbid, if the level of contamination and transmission will increase here. What will happen to us if all the good nurses are already abroad,” Bello said.

The head of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said he did recommend to the IATF, though, the extension of the exemption period for temporary deployment ban from March 8, 2020, to August 31, 2020. This means professionals whose papers were already perfected as of end-August are exempted from the ban and may fly out to fulfill their overseas contracts.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the IATF already submitted its recommendation on the matter to President Duterte, who will decide to approve or not the said policy.

The President has yet to act on the said IATF recommendation as of press time.

If approved by Duterte, Bello said the extension will allow the deployment of only around 1,200 medical workers abroad.

        He noted this is acceptable since the country will still have thousands of other medical workers staying in the country.

                In April, POEA issued Governing Board Resolution (GBR) 9, Series of 2020, which temporarily banned the deployment of professionals in 14 medical categories to ensure the country will have enough medical workers to help in the local efforts against Covid-19.

Image credits: AP



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