The Philippines could fill up its annual deployment cap of 5,000 nurses abroad as early as June, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia said Wednesday, May 19.
Once the limit is met, no Filipino nurse will be allowed to go overseas for work until the turn of the year–unless the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases increases the ceiling.
“As we speak, tuloy-tuloy ang deployment natin. Mayroon po tayong mga countries ngayon na nagsisignify na ii-increase nila yung kanilang demand, yung kanilang request ng deployment ng nurses (deployments are ongoing. Some countries have signified that they will increase their demand, their request for deployment),” Olalia said during a virtual press briefing.
“Ang una ko ngang projection noon baka by second quarter of this year baka maabot na natin yung 5,000. By June siguro baka maabot na natin kaya kami po ay naghahanda (Back then, my initial projection was we might reach the 5,000 by the second quarter of this year. Probably by June we might reach it, that’s why we are preparing for it),” he noted.
He bared that the current number of deployed Filipino nurses is “over 3,000”.
The IATF earlier decided to limit the deployment of local nurses to just 5,000 a year as a way to ensure that the Philippine healthcare sector would be sufficiently manned amid the country’s continuing battle against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Olalia confirmed Wednesday that POEA has already requested for an increase in the cap.
However, he said the agency has yet to recommend an actual figure to the IATF. He described the situation as “fluid”.
“Inaanticipate natin na in the near future maabot talaga natin yung bilang na yun sa dami ba naman ng naghahangad at nagha-hire (We anticipate that we will hit that number in the near future due to the sheer demand),” he said.
“We have a representative sa IATF na nakikiapag ugnayan at nagbibigay mg datos (We have a representative in the IATF who coordinates with them and gives the data),” Olalia further said.
According to the POEA chief, the cap imposed this year only includes nurses that are “new hires”.