Deployment of nurses in exchange for vaccines from Europe opposed

Some groups oppose the proposal of the Department of Labor and Employment to send nurses abroad in exchange for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.

For the Nurses United group, it seems that nurses have become a chip or a commodity in exchange for the vaccine.

“Nakakasama ng loob para sa maraming nurses, kasi ginawa kaming chip. Bagama’t nakikita namin yung intention at tsaka yung objective behind this act no or intention still ang feeling namin na-degrade ang nurses,” said Leni Nolasco, Vice President of Nurses United.

This is also the view of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition chairman Atty. Sonny Matula: “Una, pinaghihigpitan ng ating gobyerno ang ating mga nurses at medical workers na magtrabaho abroad . . . Ngayon naman nais ng ating gobyerno na ibenta ang ating nurses na parang mga bilihin o commodity sa isang trade kapalit ng bakuna.”

Even some lawmakers, such as Senator Joel Villanueva, opposed it.

“OFW deployment is not a trade. We simply do not swap people for products. Theirs is a ‘kapit sa patalim’ move. Kung ginawa lang po sana ng IATF ang kanilang tungkulin, hindi sana mapipilitan ang DOLE na dumiskarte,” said Villanueva.

Deployment of nurses in exchange for vaccines from Europe opposed

It will be recalled that on Tuesday, the DOLE said it would allow thousands of healthcare workers to get jobs in Britain and Germany if the above-mentioned countries donate vaccines against COVID-19.

It will take up to 3 million vaccines required by the government, which will be available to overseas Filipino workers. OFWs are in Priority 4 in the country’s vaccination program.

“If we will send our nurses, mas mabuti siguro na na-vaccinate na sila. So maybe you might consider giving us, sharing some vaccines for, not only for our nurses but also for all our OFWs,” said Labor chief Silvestre Bello.

Bello thinks it would be better if OFWs were vaccinated earlier against COVID-19. He also said 15,000 Filipino nurses were needed in Germany.

The Department of Health did not know about the negotiations.

“Wala po kaming impormasyon pa tungkol dito. Sa tingin ko naman ay magkakaroon ng pag-uusap ‘yan at dapat idulog sa IATF kung sakaling may ganitong mga plano o kaya ay proposal na kailangan gawin because of vaccines,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.