Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is not discounting the possibility of the temporary suspension of deployment for other healthcare workers also being lifted once the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic situation in the country improves.
“If the situation further improves, as we are continuously monitoring the situation, we will consider increasing the cap, until eventually, we may already remove the suspension of deployment,” he said in an online forum Wednesday.
In Governing Board Resolution No. 17 – 2020 dated December 7, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said “the moratorium or temporary suspension of deployment of newly hired nurses, nursing aides and nursing assistants is hereby lifted effective immediately.”
With regard to other medical and allied healthcare workers, it said the temporary suspension shall remain effective until lifted.
According to Bello, the POEA lifted the deployment ban for nurses and nursing assistants as majority of those being deployed are nurses and only about five percent are other healthcare workers.
“Ninety to 95 percent of those we are deploying are actually nurses and nursing aides. This is why we are focused on them in the lifting of the ban,” he said.
Last month, Bello said President Duterte has already approved the proposal to lift the temporary suspension of deployment of healthcare workers but the Philippines will only allow 5,000 healthcare workers to leave every year to ensure that there are enough HCWs in the country during the health emergency.
It was in April when the POEA imposed a temporary suspension in the deployment for selected types of health workers citing the dwindling human resources in local hospitals and medical facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the list are medical doctor/physician, nurse, microbiologist molecular biologist, medical technologist, clinical analyst, respiratory therapist, pharmacist, laboratory technician, X-ray/radiologic technician, nursing assistant/nursing aide, operator of medical equipment, supervisor of health services and personal care, and repairman of medical-hospital equipment.