By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has urged the Department of Health (DOH) to tap the services of Filipino healthcare professionals in the country amid the government-imposed deployment ban to ensure the availability of enough health human resources needed to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.
“Dapat lang na i-encourage ang ating medical workers na tumulong sa sarili nilang bayan. Lahat tayo bilang Pilipino, dapat gawin ang lahat para masagip at maprotektahan ang buhay ng ating kapwa Pilipino,” he said. (It is but right to encourage our medical workers to help their own country. Every one has to safeguard and protect the lives of our countrymen.)
“Kaya naman nais nating masiguro na may sapat tayong healthcare professionals sa bansa upang labanan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19,” Go added. (We want to ensure that we have the right number of healthcare professionals to fight COVID-19.)
Go, chairman of the Senate health committee, also emphasized that special considerations must be given to Filipino healthcare professionals with existing contracts abroad given that the COVID-19 is a worldwide concern and so that concerned medical workers could honor their commitments with their employers abroad.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) sa kanilang pagkunsidera sa deployment ban at pagdinig sa sitwasyon ng iba nating mga health workers na may employment contracts sa ibang bansa,” he said.
(We thank the IATF for considering the deployment ban and their employment contracts abroad.)
“Maganda naman po ang hangarin ng deployment ban ng POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), ngunit naniniwala rin po tayo na hindi dapat kabilang dito ang mga health workers natin na may contractual obligations na sa ibang bansa bago pa man nag-umpisa ang public health emergency na dala ng COVID-19,” he said.
(The objective of the POEA in implementing a deployment ban is good but we believe that the ban should not cover our health workers with contractual obligations abroad before the COVID-19 became public emergency.)
Early this month, the POEA Governing Board issued Resolution No. 09, series of 2020, which provides for the temporary suspension of the deployment of all healthcare workers.
Subject to the evaluation of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the IATF has directed the DOH) to “facilitate the emergency hiring of additional healthcare workers to assist in the local healthcare system.”
Go expressed his gratitude to all Filipino health workers for their hard work and sacrifice to help the country overcome the COVID-19 crisis.