Malacañang on Thursday, August 20, said that healthcare workers with overseas employment contracts as of March 8 will be allowed to leave the country.
“The [COVID-19 task force] this afternoon decided that health professionals with papers, meaning [Overseas Employment Certificate] issued by the [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] and employment contracts verified as of March 8, 2020, can leave the country,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Tuesday reinforced the deployment ban on medical workers seeking employment overseas.
“Considering the continuing State of Public Health Emergency, the overseas deployment of the medical and allied health workers is hereby temporarily suspended,” IATF’s Resolution No. 64 read.
However, Filipino Nurses United sought for the lifting of the restriction as many of them remain jobless.
Roque, for his part, urged healthcare workers to stay in the country.
According to him, the government is already providing medical front-liners additional benefits like risk allowance, P15,000 for those who get infected with COVID-19, life insurance, free accommodation and transportation, as well as free and frequent testing.
“Sa tingin ko po, sa panahon ng pandemiya, mananaig naman po ang nasyonalismo sa puso at damdamin ng ating mga nurses (I think in the time of pandemic, nationalism will prevail in the hearts and feelings of our nurses),” Roque said.
“Kahit mangibang bansa ang ating mga health workers, maiiwan silang mga mahal sa buhay dito at sana maisip din ng mga health professionals na wala namang mag-a-attend sa mga pamilya dito kapag kailangan ng mga health workers (Even if our health workers go abroad, they’ll leave their loved ones here. I hope they also consider that nobody would attend to their families here),” he added.
Philippine Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also stressed that medical front-liners are needed in the country.
“Nakikiusap po kami sa aming mga healthcare workers na sana yung nationalism natin ay manaig sa panahon ngayon na meron tayong pandemya (We appeal to our healthcare workers hoping that their sense of nationalism will prevail at a time of pandemic),” she said.
As of Thursday, August 20, there are a total of 178,022 COVID-19 cases in the country, with 2,883 fatalities and 114,114 recoveries.