Binay to government: Lift deployment ban on healthcare workers
Sen. Nancy Binay, chairperson of the Committee on Tourism, listens to officials from the airline industry as they reported a huge decrease in their flight sales due to the 2019 nCoV in this Feb. 11, 2020 photo.
Office of Sen. Nancy Binay/Released

Binay to government: Lift deployment ban on healthcare workers

(Philstar.com) - August 27, 2020 - 11:02am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Nancy Binay on Thursday called on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the COVID-19 task force to lift the deployment ban on the country's healthcare workers.

"Sana maunawaan din ng POEA at ng [COVID-19 task force] ang kalagayan ng ating mga nurse na 'di lang naman sila full-time sa ospital. Sa totoo lang, mas mabigat ang pressure kung paano maitatawid ang kanilang mga pamilya sa gitna ng pandemya. Yung travel ban hostages their chance to have a decent work-life balance and give their families a better future," she said.

(Hopefully, POEA and the [COVID-19 task force] understand the condition of our nurses, they're not just full time at the hospital. In truth, the heavier pressure for them is finding a way to get their families through the pandemic. The travel ban hostages their chance to have a decent work-life balance and give their families a better future.)

The COVID-19 task force last Monday reinforced the restriction on medical workers from seeking job overseas. 

The ban, announced by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday, was contained under Resolution No. 64 of the interagency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases (IATF), which oversees the government’s overall pandemic response.

Later the same week, Malacañang announced that health workers who were able to secure employment contracts as of March 8 would be exempted from the deployment ban.

"Even if our health workers go abroad, they will leave loved ones here. Hopefully, they consider that. No one will attend to their families if needed. I hope that convinces them," Roque said during virtual briefing on Thursday.

"Our healthcare workers wouldn't want to work in another country if their salaries here were sufficient. There's a pandemic, who would want to be away from their families a time like this?" Binay argued in Filipino.

"For healthcare workers, the struggle to survive is real in the midst of risks and trying to feed a family," she added.

According to Binay, if the government refuses to lift the ban, then it should ensure competitive salaries for healthcare workers in the country. 

She further cited data from the Department of Health which showed that there are more than 750,000 licensed medical professionals in the country, "including dentists, med technologists, pharmacists, physicians, and midwives."

"Of this number, only 204,437 are active in the health sector, meaning more than 500,000 licensed medical professionals are not practicing their craft," Binay said.

"Kung hindi kaya ng pamahalaan na mabigyan ng trabaho at sapat na benepisyo ang ating mga healthcare workers, hindi naman ata tama na pagkaitan natin sila ng pagkakataon para mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang kanilang pamilya."

(If the government is unable to give work and sufficient compensation to our healthcare workers, it doesn't seem right that we deny them the opportunity to give their families good lives.) — Bella Perez-Rubio

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