The supposed abundance of job opportunities in the United States (US) has spurred the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) to seek a review of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases's (IATF) annual deployment cap on Filipino healthcare workers abroad.
This was relayed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Friday, June 11 by Labor Attaché in Washington, D.C. Angela Librado-Trinidad during a virtual press briefing. Manila-based reporters also took part in the briefing.
Trinidad said she was in possession of PAMET's position paper on the IATF deployment cap, which stands at 5,000 per year.
"Recently we met with PAMET and there's an estimated 110,000 demand for medical technologists (med techs) ," she told DOLE Information and Publication Service (IPS) Director Rolly Francia.
"As far as our nurses are concerned, marami na kasing retiring sa US (a lot of people will retire soon in the US). there are 2.5 million nurses that are needed in the next few years," said Trinidad, who works at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the American capital city.
"In effect they are asking for a review, and eventually perhaps an exception from the cap that the IATF has imposed on ?" Francia asked Trinidad.
"Yes in a while, that is there position: to review the cap in the light of the many opportunities daw at this point," she replied. "Sana ma-review daw kasi may ganitong demand ang US ngayon (They're hoping for a review because of the demand in the US right now)."
The purpose of the deployment limit--which is imposed only on new hires--is to make sure that the Philippines doesn’t run out of medical professionals--especially nurses--amid the persisting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Incidentally, the 5,000-limit was already reached as of last week according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). This means that no newly-hired healthcare worker will be deployed aboard for the rest of the year, unless he or she is going to the United Kingdom (UK).
The UK was earlier granted an exception from the cap by the Philippine government.
Trinidad made it clear during the presser that POLO's position was to "not encourage overseas employment as a matter of national strategy", given the purpose behind the IATF resolution that enforced the deployment cap.
"We reminded them of the basis of all these resolutions. In fact we gave them a copy of the governing board resolution na nirelease ng POEA even before the pandemic na nakikita nating medyo may shortage of our medical professionals (we gave them a copy of the governing board resolution that was released by the POEA, which said that there was a shortage of medical professionals even before the pandemic started)," she said.
"But then sinasabi nilang naiintidihan nila, baka lang ma-consider yung kanilang position (But they said they understand the situation, it's just that they want their position to at least be considered)," she added.
It is the POLO that receives job orders for Filipinos from their host country.