Senator Joel Villanueva said that the government should still work on raising the wages and benefits of Filipino health care workers even as it lifted the temporary ban on their deployment abroad.
“While we welcome the lifting of the deployment ban on healthcare workers, we see this as a reminder for our government to continue raising the standards of compensation for them,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“As we have said before when we called for the lifting of the ban early on, the most effective way to make our healthcare workers stay and work in our country is to offer better employment terms including competitive salary and benefits, and its timely payout,” he added.
On Saturday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III confirmed that President Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease to lift the suspension on the deployment of nurses and other medical workers.
He said, though, that only 5,000 per year will be allowed to leave the country to make sure that the Philippines will not run out of experienced and skilled medical professionals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Villanueva, however, maintained that Filipino health workers will only be encouraged to serve the country if they are receiving proper compensation.
The chairman of the Senate labor committee previously wrote to the Department of Health to improve its offers for health workers in its emergency hiring program.
“We’re certain that our healthcare workers would not think twice about leaving their families behind and place themselves overseas where the risk of getting infected is similar here in the country,” he said.
“The world respects and looks up to Filipino healthcare workers as one of the best, and compensates them well for raising the standards of care. Our government should do the same to our own kababayans (countrymen),” he appealed.