The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has agreed to raise the annual deployment cap on Filipino healthcare workers (HCWs) from 5,000 to 6,500.
This was bared by Department of Labor and Employment-Information and Publication Service (DOLE-IPS) Director Rolly Francia on Friday, June 18 during a virtual press briefing.
“Ang pagka-unawa po namin dyan, 1,500 yung additional doon sa original na 5,000 na cap. So ang na-approve po ng IATF at ni [DOLE] Sec. Bebot Bello ay additional 1,500…across healthcare workers (The way we understand it, 1,500 will be added to the original cap of 5,000. So what the IATF and DOLE Sec. Bebot Bello approved is additional 1,500…across healthcare workers),” Francia said in response to a question about the deployment limit.
Earlier this month, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued advisory no.71 series of 2021, which temporarily suspended the processing of the deployment of new hire nurses abroad.
This was after the 5,000-limit was reached at the midway point of the year. The POEA is a subordinate agency of DOLE.
On Wednesday , Bello bared in a virtual press briefing that he had requested that the deployment cap be doubled to 10,000 in order to give Filipino HCWs the chance to land better-paying jobs abroad. He said that the IATF would give a recommendation on his request the following day.
“The IATF heard [Sec. Bello’s] appeal. I understand his original request was for an additional 5,000, although ang napagbigyan lamang ay 1,500 (only 1,500 was granted),” Francia said.
Francia said the DOLE chief will continue to appeal for the further increase of the cap, especially since the latter is of the opinion that there is ample supply of local nurses and other essential HCWs.
“My personal assessment is we have enough healthcare workers…we have around 400,000. With this number I think we can afford to deploy nurses pa. That’s why I’m willing to recommend [an increase in the] deployment cap,” Bello said Wednesday.
The deployment limit was imposed as a way to make sure that the Philippines wouldn’t run out of HCWs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.