The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) urged the government to lift the deployment ban for healthcare workers.
The PNA said that the government should lift the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board Resolution No. 09-2020 that orders the temporary suspension of overseas deployment of the country's healthcare workers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
"If the government cannot give what is due the nurses, then their moral choice to work abroad should not be attacked. The foundation of social contract between the people and the government must never be violated," the organization said in a statement.
"In times when people have to earn and live, a little respect and a dignified existence are all that they need from those who govern them," it added.
The PNA said that some nurses already received “notifications from their employers abroad requiring them to immediately report back to work.”
“Our government’s pronouncements have caused lately an array of opinions among nurses as these policies effectively restricted their rights to travel and essentially, to livelihood. Many have already signed their contracts of employment and are slated to go abroad,” it said.
“They face the consequences of not complying with the term of their job contracts. Worse, because of the ban, nurses are now fear that they cannot pay anymore the debts they used to process their job applications,” it added.
To note, the deployment ban was approved last April, which covers selected healthcare workers, to ensure that the country has enough medical workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among those temporarily barred from leaving the country are medical doctors/physicians, nurses, microbiologists, medical biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, X-ray/radiologic technicians, nursing assistants/aides, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care, and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment.
The government eased the deployment ban on healthcare workers last August, allowing those who have secured employment contracts on or before March 8 to leave the country.