Malacañang said it will first evaluate if the country's hospitals are in need of more manpower before allowing Filipino healthcare workers to work in New York amid the state's search for more medical workers.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the state of New York said it is considering hiring medical workers from other countries including the Philippines to replace unvaccinated staff in hospitals and nursing homes after it required workers in the said facilities to be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In his press briefing on Monday, September 27, Roque said this recent pronouncement would mean more Filipinos will get jobs amid the pandemic.
"Hindi naman natin maikakaila na mas mataas talaga ang sahod ng mga nurses sa Estados Unidos (We cannot deny that nurses have higher salaries in the United States)," he said.
"We are happy for those na makakakuha po ng trabaho sa America (who will be employed in America)," he added.
However, Roque said the Philippine government would first have to "balance" the needs of the country before considering the deployment of health workers to New York.
"Natutuwa po kami sa mga pagkakataon na ibinibigay sa ating mga kababayan pero at the same time, titignan naman po natin na baka naman tayo magkulang (We are grateful for the opportunity given to our people but, at the same time, we will first look into it because we may have a shortage in the end)," he said.
"Sa tingin ko hindi naman po because napakadami pong mga bagong pasang mga nurses ngayon (But I don't think we will have a shortage of nurses because there are many nurses who recently passed their exams)," he added.
Meanwhile, Roque noted that the Executive Branch has the power to impose a cap on the deployment of health workers to other countries like it did last year. The cap was eventually lifted.
It was only last week that President Duterte appealed to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to deploy members of their medical corps to help hospitals amid the rise of the number of medical workers being infected by COVID-19.
Early this month, Duterte hoped that the government will be able to recruit more health care workers and allied health workers as the country continued to address the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, saying the pay is actually "good."
Also this September, it was reported that volunteer doctors at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) decided to not renew their contracts, further emphasizing the institution’s staffing crisis.
In response to the situation, Roque said the government is doing its best to speed up the graduation and examination of the country’s would-be doctors to address the shortage of manpower in hospitals amid the ongoing pandemic.