Nurses to make up 99 percent of additional 1,500 slots in deployment cap–POEA chief

Published June 22, 2021, 12:41 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Practically all of the 1,500 slots added to the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) annual deployment cap on Filipino healthcare workers (HCWs) will be used by nurses who secured jobs abroad.

(Screengrab from Facebook live)

This was bared by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia on Tuesday, June 22 during the Laging Handa press briefing.

“Alam niyo po yung 1,500, 99 percent niyan talagang mga nurses po lahat eh. One percent lang po yung other mission critical skills natin, napakaliit po na bahagi nun (You know, the 1,500 slots, 99 percent of that will go to the nurses. Other mission critical skills represent just one percent, it’s a very small number),” Olalia said.

Earlier this month, the 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 initial 5,000-deployment cap was reached at the midway point of the year.

But Olalia said the IATF agreed to increase the deployment limit to 6,500 upon the request and subsequent discussions with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III. The POEA is a subordinate agency of DOLE.

Olalia said the additional 1,500 slots will be given to the HCWs who are “in the pipeline”, meaning those whose deployment papers were being processed just before the POEA advisory was issued.

“Ang ginagawa po natin, kung sino po yung tapos na po sa deployment papers nila, bibigyan na po nila ng OEC [overseas employment contract] through the in-house facilitation ng ating mga agencies (What we’re doing is, those with completed deployment papers are given OECs through the in-house facilitation of our agencies),” he said of the nurses.

“Binigyan po natin ng authority yung ating mga recruitment agencies na mag process ng kanilang deployment (We gave our recruitment agencies the authority to process their deployment),” Olalia recalled.

Bello earlier said that he didn’t want to stop Filipino nurses from looking for better-paying jobs abroad.

“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,” the DOLE chief said last week.

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.