Exempting medical technologists or med techs from the list of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with limited annual deployment such as doctors and nurses makes sense to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Now, if only someone would make a formal request to that effect.
“Yung tungkol sa med tech, wala pa akong natanggap na request na they will be delisted from the list of healthcare workers [under the deployment cap] (About med techs, I have yet to receive a request for them to be delisted from the list of healthcare workers under the deployment cap),” Bello clarified during a virtual press briefing Wednesday, June 16.
“But if I will receive a request for that purpose, I’m inclined to agree with the med tech na pwede silang i-exempt doon sa deployment cap. Pero sa ngayon, wala pa akong natatanggap (I’m inclined to agree with med techs that they can be exempted from the deployment cap. But as of now, I haven’t received any),” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has declared an annual deployment cap of 5,000 as far as healthcare workers areconcerned.
Bello said that compared to doctors and nurses, the Philippines can afford to deploy more med techs abroad so they may take advantage of better job offers there.
“Kapag doktor, mahirap (Deploying more doctors would be difficult). We have to be very sure that we will not run out of nurses and doctors. Kasi kailangang-kailangan natin sila sa ating bansa para sa medical needs ng ating mga kababayan (We need them in our country to attend to the medical needs of our countrymen),” he noted.
Bello says the fact that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic persists means that the Philippines must have enough nurses and healthcare workers.
But he is willing to give some slack to med techs, since their practice isn’t focused on patient care.
Last week, Labor Attaché in Washington, D.C. Angela Librado-Trinidad relayed to DOLE the request of the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) to seek a review of the IATF deployment cap.
Trinidad had learned from a position paper submitted to her by PAMET that “there’s an estimated 110,000 demand for medical technologists [in the United States]”.
However, she made no mention if PAMET would instead consider the removal of med techs from the list of professions covered by the 5,000 deployment cap.
The deployment cap, which affects new hires only, had already been reached as of the first week of June.