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Philippine health workers with jobs abroad allowed to leave

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MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer) — Nurses and other health care workers with existing contracts are now allowed to return to their jobs abroad after the Duterte administration recalled its deployment ban.


Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on Monday night that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF overseeing the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis had heeded his appeal to overturn the decision to stop medical workers from leaving at this time.
But those seeking to work abroad for the first time are still not allowed to depart.
“DONE. NURSES, other health workers with existing contracts of work abroad can leave,” Locsin tweeted on Monday night.
“Future applications frozen until further notice provided all our 450,000+ nurses — exceeding by 250,000 ideal WHO (World Health Organization) ratio of people-to-nurses — must be given employment,” he added.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the IATF reviewed on Monday its stand on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or POEA deployment ban, which had prevented several doctors, nurses and other health workers from leaving the country.
“During the IATF meeting, [the task force] reconsidered the policy on the travel ban on health workers. Those with existing perfected employment contracts will be able to leave,” Panelo said in a text message to the Inquirer.
He, however, said the IATF resolution detailing the amendment was “subject to the approval of the President.”
Panelo said he had recommended to President Duterte in a memorandum “the lifting of the travel ban on health workers with perfected contracts.”
In an earlier resolution, the POEA governing board said the deployment of health workers was suspended “until the national state of emergency is lifted and until Covid-19-related travel restrictions are lifted at the destination country.”
The move, it said, aimed to “prioritize human resource allocation for the national health-care system at the time of the national state of emergency.”
Locsin ranted over the weekend on Twitter against fellow cabinet members in the IATF, protesting that the ban was unfair to nurses and other health-care workers who endured minimal pay and long working hours in their own country.
“You are not slaves; governments never helped nurses to study, get their degrees, get started, stopped their abuse by public and private hospitals that made them pay to get experience,” he had said in one of his tweets.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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