By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang announced that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), except for health workers, may now go abroad as the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed their deployment.
In his Thursday presser, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said land-based or sea-based OFWs shall be allowed to be deployed abroad upon the execution of a Declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved.
However, he said health workers are not covered by the new IATF resolution.
“Hindi po kasama dito yung mga health professionals na sakop pa rin ng deployment ban na in-issue ng POEA (Health professionals are not included because they are still covered by the deployment ban issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration),” he said.
Meanwhile, Roque said recruitment and placement agencies shall be likewise allowed to operate in areas under the General and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (GCQ and MECQ).
Government offices and agencies involved in the processing of OFW deployment are also directed to establish “Green Lanes” to enable the prompt processing and deployment of OFWs.
Early this month, President Duterte expressed his intention to stop Filipino medical workers from going abroad as the country fights the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Please don’t misunderstand me. I am making it clear now. I do not want you to go there and come back in a coffin. That’s my only argument, if you may because you are Filipinos at mahal ko ang mga buhay ng mga kababayan ko (and I love my countrymen),” he said.
Roque earlier explained that stopping health workers from going overseas is an exercise of President Duterte’s police power.
“Perfectly legal. In fact, that’s pursuant to the general welfare clause,” he said in an interview over ANC.
“It is an exercise of police power because the primary basis for the President’s concern is that these people are going to the most dangerous places as far as COVID-19 is concerned,” he added.