Bello to tell Duterte next week about UK gov’t’s answer to vaccine request for Pinoy nurses

Published February 25, 2021, 5:55 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte will be informed next week about the United Kingdom’s (UK) response to the request of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that the western nation should provide for the vaccination of Filipino nurses who would potentially be deployed there.

Labor Secretary SIlvestre Bello III. (Screengrab from RTVM via PNA)

Thus, said DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello III in a DZMM Teleradyo interview Thursday, Feb. 25, even as he revealed that he already possesses the response in the form of a letter from UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce.

“Ngayon mayroon akong natanggap na sulat galing kay ambassador (Today I received a letter from the ambassador). Pero I’m not at liberty yet to mention it in public kasi ipapadala ko kay Pangulong Duterte yung response ng UK…Ipapadala ko kay Presidente by Monday (I will send UK’s response to President Duterte by Monday),” Bello said.

At any rate, the labor chief described Pruce’s answer as “very, very favorable, positive”.

Bello narrated in the interview how the UK Embassy initiated a request for the Philippines to send nurses there despite a persisting cap from the local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) that limits such deployment to just 5,000 a year.

“That cap was a decision of the IATF. So if I’m going to make a recommendation, titiyakin kong may favorable recommendation ang Department of Health syempre (of course I will have to make sure that the Department of Health gives a favorable recommendation),” he said.

A key condition that Bello made for the prospective deployment of Filipino nurses to the UK is for that country to provide for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that would be used on the nurses before leaving the Philippines.

Bello said this is the best way to guarantee the safety of the Filipino healthcare workers amid the persisting pandemic. 

Duterte usually holds Cabinet meetings once a week.