Bishop questions restrictions on Pinoy healthcare workers
Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (ECMI) vice chairman, asked why there is a limit on the deployment after President Duterte had lifted the seven-month deployment ban of Filipino HCWs to other countries.
Michael Varcas
Bishop questions restrictions on Pinoy healthcare workers
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday questioned the restrictions on the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers overseas that are still in place despite the lifting of the travel ban on HCWs.

Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (ECMI) vice chairman, asked why there is a limit on the deployment after President Duterte had lifted the seven-month deployment ban of Filipino HCWs to other countries.

“We at CBCP-ECMI are very grateful to the President for lifting the suspension… We have always appealed before and affirmed that those with already existing contracts should not be suspended for deployment,” Santos said.

“Now as the President lifted it, why limit it or put a number?” he added.

Last Nov. 11, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) passed a resolution allowing some nurses and other medical professionals to leave the country for overseas employment that at the time was awaiting Duterte’s approval.

Bello reportedly said the resolution contains setting a cap of deploying at most 5,000 nurses or medical workers annually.

Santos proposed a compromise: to ensure that those in the healthcare profession would be allowed to leave the country, and at the same time, there would still be enough doctors and nurses to care for sick Filipinos, the government could require new graduates to work in the country for a year before allowing them to find work abroad.

He also suggested that the government should provide better benefits and improve the working conditions of medical healthcare staff to convince them to continue working in the country.

“And to entice them to remain here is to improve their working conditions and security, better benefits and promotion of their welfare,” Santos said.

Last April, Duterte ordered the temporary ban on the deployment of HCWs to offset the shortage of medical professionals in the country, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, Duterte was also worried that those traveling abroad might expose themselves to the virus.

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