The Brunei government has again asked the Philippines not to include them in the deployment cap of Filipino healthcare workers, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In a statement, Labor Attaché Melissa Mendizabal of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) said Brunei needs 200 nurses and 30 doctors to increase their healthcare workers in the face of the pandemic.
In 2020, Brunei allegedly requested an exemption from the deployment cap of Filipino healthcare workers, but it was not granted. Last July 2021, the country allegedly sent a letter again.
According to Mendizabal, the salaries of hospital staff are not far from the salaries of nurses in Singapore.
“Nurses receive high take-home pay because of the free accommodation and transportation. In addition, if they render overtime work, they earn as much as 2,000 Brunei Dollars per month,” said Mendizabal.
Last June, the Philippine government raised the deployment cap for Filipino health workers who will be allowed to work abroad to 6,500 from the previous 5,000.
Mendizabal said Brunei is also looking for Filipino workers for the oil and gas and household service sectors.
Brunei wants to hire healthcare workers in the Philippines
“Prior to our current situation, we have processed job orders for domestic workers. On top of that are the nurses then those in the oil and gas industry. Most of the job orders that we have processed are in those sectors,” said Mendizabal.
Employees in the oil and gas sector, including engineers and architects, are said to receive salaries ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 Brunei Dollars.
Today, there are about 20,000 overseas Filipino workers in Brunei.
However, the official said OFWs in Brunei could not get permanent residency.
OFWs in Brunei are given a “work pass” and a visa valid for two years,” Mendizabal said.
Meanwhile, Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) president Robert Mendoza insisted that the salaries of healthcare workers who are the main fighters of the pandemic should now be doubled as well.
“Sana, dagdagan at itaas ang sahod both public and private health workers. Kung nadoble ni Pangulong Duterte ang sahod ng mga kapulisan, sana sa panahon ng pandemya, magkaroon siya ng political will na doblehin ang sahod ng ating health workers,” said Mendoza.