A nurses’ group appealed to the government to lift the deployment ban on healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 crisis, Thursday.
Filipino Nurses United (FNU) secretary-general Jocelyn Andamo said in an interview on Unang Hirit that the healthcare workers have the right to decide whether they will stay in the Philippines or work abroad.
“Ang Filipino Nurses United ay naninindigan sa total lifting ng deployment ban ng mga nurses at iba pang healthcare workers,” Andamo said.
“Sa tingin po namin, karapatan naman ng mga nurse na maghanap ng better work opportunities at better pay sa labas ng bansa kung hindi naman naibibigay sa atin ng pamahalaan,” she added.
Andamo pointed out that some healthcare workers already spent almost P100,000 for the requirements to work overseas.
“Nag-spend na po sila ng almost P100,000 sa kanilang examination, at documents. At sila po ay nakapangutang na para masustentuhan ang kanilang mga pamilya,” she added.
Lift deployment ban on healthcare workers – nurses’ group
On Tuesday, Senator Risa Hontiveros wrote a letter to Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) urging them to lift the deployment ban on healthcare workers.
“Hindi lang oras ang inilaan ng ating mga kababayan para lang makapag-abroad. Marami ang nangutang, nagbenta ng ari-arian para lang masuportahan ang pangarap. They must be allowed to leave,” she said.
Also on Tuesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he is considering exempting nurses who already completed their requirements as of August 21.
“We recommended that the extension should cover not only those who completed their papers as of March 2020, but also [those] who completed their papers as of August 21,” Bello said.
“That was the recommendation of Administrator [Bernard] Olalia of the [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] and I supported that petition and it is pending with IATF,” he added.
The government imposed a temporary deployment ban on healthcare workers overseas “to ensure the safety of Filipino healthcare workers amid the pandemic.”
According to The Culture Trip, 25% of the 2.2 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are serving as healthcare workers.