By Genalyn Kabiling
The controversial ban on the overseas deployment of health workers will be discussed and reviewed by the government’s policy-making group on the coronavirus response on Monday, April 13.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said labor authorities have issued a memorandum temporarily halting the deployment of medical workers abroad but there have been calls to review or recall such restriction.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging infectious Disease (IATF) will tackle the latest concern and issue the appropriate guidelines afterwards, according to Nograles.
“There is a request na ipa-review sa IATF kaya bukas sa IATF meeting mapag-usapan namin ito. Kung ano lalabas sa mapag-usapan, ibabalita namin sa publiko (There is a request for the IATF to review this so we will discuss it at the IATF meeting Monday. We will inform the public the results of our discussions),” he said during a virtual press conference Sunday.
“In the meantime, nandyan yung memorandum at issuance ng POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) at DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment (In the meantime, (the memorandum or issuance by the POEA, DOLE stays),” he added.
The POEA has temporarily suspended the overseas deployment of healthcare workers until President Duterte lifts the state of public emergency and host countries lift their travel restrictions.
The latest measure reportedly aims to ensure the country will have sufficient medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The deployment ban covers doctors, nurses, microbiologists, medical technologists, respiratory therapists, and other medical workers.
Some groups however have opposed the deployment ban of health workers that supposedly restricts a person’s right to travel and promotes involuntary servitude.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has also voiced his opposition to the deployment restrictions on health workers, saying he intends to challenge such order in the IATF meeting on Monday.
Nograles recognized that the latest deployment restriction on health workers was discussed by concerned labor officials and other stakeholders. He said the labor officials released its guidelines on the matter after consultations with the concerned sectors.