The government officially lifted the temporary deployment ban of health workers abroad, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said.
“The moratorium or temporary suspension of deployment of newly hired nurses, nursing aides, and nursing assistants is hereby lifted effective immediately,” the POEA said in its governing board’s Resolution No. 17 released December 8.
The deployment of nurses should be compliant with the travel requirements of the host country. They must also present a declaration that the nurses deployed were aware of COVID-19 risks.
“With regard to other workers and allied health-care workers, the moratorium and temporary suspension shall remain effective,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
POEA further said that the 5,000 annual deployment limit for newly hired nurses implemented by Cabinet-level Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) would be imposed in 2021.
IATF said that the limit was imposed “taking into consideration the national demand for health care vis-a-vis the number of (health-care workers)” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government-to-government negotiations also allowed the hiring of health workers, POEA said.
In September, Bello said DOLE acknowledges that the 5,000-deployment limit is much lower than the 16,000 healthcare workers going abroad every year. However, Bello insisted that the police is really a must.
He added that DOLE is also proposing to increase nurses’ and medical workers’ salaries in the private sector.
Bello also lamented the low salary of healthcare workers in big hospitals with high income.
Deployment ban of health workers abroad lifted – POEA
Meanwhile, Anakalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor filed a bill seeking a starting salary of over P60,000 for public nurses.
Defensor filed HB No.7833 amid after the government lifted the ban on deploying nurses abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the proposed bill, Defensor increased public nurses’ salary in government health institutions from Salary Grade 15 to Salary Grade 21.
Currently, public nurses, such as those working in the Department of Health (DoH)-run hospitals, receive a starting monthly pay of P32,053.
“We cannot match the starting pay being offered by North American and European hospitals to Filipino nurses, but we can match the rate being offered by employers in Saudi Arabia, for instance,” Defensor said.