PHL to sign deal with Britain on nurse deployment

LABOR Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom on the welfare and deployment of more nurses to the UK.

In an online briefing Wednesday, Mr. Bello said that the memorandum is a “labor affairs agreement” to deploy more Filipino nurses to the UK. London agrees to provide additional benefits to overseas Filipino workers there, especially healthcare workers.

Mr. Bello said the UK does not have a specific number of nurses in mind, but wants to strengthen the bilateral agreement with the Philippines on the deployment of healthcare workers.

The National Government decided to keep the country’s current deployment cap on nurses at 6,500 but the policy does not apply to the UK and Germany due to their government-to-government agreements with the Philippines.

However, Mr. Bello said the policy is “always subject to the amendment of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases),” and the signing of the memorandum with the UK will institutionalize the policy.

The memorandum will be signed this month, possibly next week, according to Mr. Bello.

His plan to travel to the UK Wednesday to sign the agreement was put aside after he was exposed to DoLE personnel who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and had to undergo mandatory quarantine.

Mr. Bello said he proposed a virtual signing of the memorandum instead, but the UK’s welfare minister proposed to travel to the Philippines instead.

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