By Genalyn Kabiling
The United States is “causing problems” for the Philippines by enticing Filipino nurses to work in their hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte said late Monday night.
The President said the United States should rely on its own human resources instead of recruiting from the country’s pool of medical personnel.
“Ngayon, ganito ang problema namin, America is part of the problem of the Filipinos now, kasi sa karaming tinamaan sa kanila, marami ng patay,” Duterte said in his public address aired over People’s Television network.
(Now, this is our problem. America is part of the problem of Filipinos now, because they have many infections and deaths.)
“Maski sino na lang, nananawagan sila, basta ‘yung nurse, mga nurse, sige punta kayo sa embassy, i-process nila ang visa one day, kinabukasan lipad ka na,” he added.
(They’re calling anybody as long as they’re nurses, telling them to go to the embassy where their visa is processed in one day, and they fly the next day.)
With America’s aggressive recruitment of nurses, Duterte expressed his concern that the country might encounter problems if it runs out of medical staff to treat local patients.
“Ang problema ito — itong Amerikano, you could have relied on your own human resource. Ibig sabihin, dapat kayo umasa sana sa sariling mga tao ninyo. Eh ngayon kinukuha, kinakaltasan mo ang Pilipinas pagdating ng panahon magkulang, sorry na lang tayo,” he said.
(The problem is this — these Americans, you could have relied on your own human resources. This means you should rely on your own people. Now you’re getting from the Philippines. If there will be a shortage, we’ll be sorry.)
Duterte, however, made clear that he was neither angry nor blaming anyone for the latest situation. “Wala akong (I don’t have) emotions actually about this,” he added.
The new coronavirus disease has infected 1.8 million people and left 116,000 dead worldwide, based on the tracker run by Johns Hopkins University. As of April 13, the United States has the highest number of infections at 558,999, followed by Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.
In the Philippines, the number of coronavirus cases have reached 4,932 as of April 13. The death toll has soared to 315.
Duterte noted that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) hoped that not all Filipino health workers will leave the country, especially amid the rising cases of infections.
“There’s no end in sight, anong katapusan nito, wala pa — and our numbers are increasing. From the 200 lang ngayon (now) it has ballooned, umabot na ng (and reached) 4,932 cases. Ang nag-recover (recoveries are) 242, ang patay (deaths are) 315,” he said.