The Philippines has an “oversupply” of nurses right now, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III bared on Thursday, Feb.25.
“Actually we have an oversupply of nurses. Mayroon tayong oversupply. Siguro kung 400,000, mayroon tayo niyan (We have an oversupply. I think we have around 400,000),” Bello said in an interview over DZMM Teleradyo.
The labor chief gave these remarks amid deployment requests for Filipino nurses from various western countries despite the persisting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Some of these nations are the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, and Austria.
Despite this seeming surplus of local nurses, Bello said the Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) existing deployment cap of 5,000 nurses per year still makes sense.
“Kaya kami nagkaroon ng cap, yung limitation, para matiyak na hindi tayo mawalan (The purpose of the cap, or the limitation, is to ensure that we won’t run out of nurses).
“Kasi kung pabayaan mo na lang, kung i-open mo, eh marami talagang pupunta sa abroad dahil ang ganda ng kanilang hanapbuhay doon (If you keep it open, then a lot of them will travel abroad because they have good livelihood there). So the IATF came up with a decision to limit our deployment at 5,000 a year,” explained Bello.
But he noted that even this helpful limitation wasn’t permanent since it could theoretically be adjusted based on feedback from concerned agencies such as the health department.
“Yan ay hindi naman permanente (That is not permanent). That is subject to study and recommendation of the Department of Health. If they say we have have enough, you can send some more (abroad), then we can consider na i- increase yung cap (to increase the cap),” the Cabinet official said.