MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it plans to increase the cap on the overseas deployment of nurses to 10,000 from the current 5,000.
In a virtual forum on Monday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the plan is carefully being studied as they want to ensure that the country has an adequate supply of nurses and healthcare workers (HCWs) amid the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.
“If we see that we have a sufficient number of nurses and healthcare workers, it is possible that we can recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and eventually to the President to have an exemption, relax the deployment and make it 10,000, probably. It’s not yet sure, it’s being studied,” he said.
At the same time, Bello added that the sending of nurses to the United Kingdom is allowed after the Philippine government granted its request to be exempted from the deployment limit.
“That’s an established fact — that the UK requested that they be exempted from the deployment cap and on my recommendation, it was approved by the IATF and this was approved by the President. So as far as the UK is concerned, there’s no limitation,” he said.
Aside from the UK, he said Germany is also requesting an exemption from the deployment limit imposed by the government.
“Even before they (Germany) asked for an exemption, they already requested for the deployment of 15,000 nurses and healthcare workers,” he said.
On the other hand, Bello clarified that Filipinos who are Balik-Mangagawa or those vacationing in the country, are not covered by the cap.
“The Balik Manggagawa workers are not covered. They are those who are in the country for a vacation and have an existing contract,” he added.
Last week, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ordered the temporary suspension on the deployment of new medical workers overseas after the 5,000 annual cap has been reached.
The order has temporarily stopped the processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates of newly hired nurses, nursing aides, and nursing assistants. (PNA)