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Government urged to lift deployment cap on health care workers

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Government urged to lift deployment cap on health care workers
In an interview with “The Chiefs” over One News on Friday, German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel said the deployment cap on Filipino health care workers has been a challenge for Germany, as there is a huge demand for health care workers in the country.
STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — The German embassy in Manila has appealed to the Philippine government to lift the cap on deployment of health care workers to other countries.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” over One News on Friday, German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel said the deployment cap on Filipino health care workers has been a challenge for Germany, as there is a huge demand for health care workers in the country.

“Right now we have a demand gap of 50,000 health care workers. Over the next years, this will increase to 300,000, 400,000,” she said.

“We urgently requested the Philippine government to once again lift the deployment cap and to reconsider the solutions because there is a huge demand and pressure from the Philippine side,” she added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier imposed the cap in response to shortage in the Philippines.

Reiffenstuel said they are in close coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency to discuss the possibility of lifting the ban.

“I found (Labor) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello very open and very much listening… Of course, it’s a matter that is being tabled in the IATF. It’s not the decision of one agency or one department alone and all the factors have to be taken into account,” she said.

She noted that the recent decision to increase the cap from 5,000 to 6,500 is not enough, given the demand.

“There is already a huge number of Filipino health care workers who are already contracted and in the pipeline to work in Germany… to support their families back here in the Philippines,” said the ambassador.

While they recognize the government’s concern regarding the local shortage, Reiffenstuel pointed out that deployment of Filipinos abroad also contributes to the Philippine economy.

“This is also a factor that should be taken into consideration, that remittances are not coming in if the health care workers that are already contracted and in the pipeline don’t have a chance to start their contracts to work in Germany,” she said.

Reiffenstuel stressed the very high standards of labor rights in Germany, stressing that those deployed in their country are treated “in a very decent manner.”

“They have a decent salary, there are bonus payments, there are retirement support, several weeks of paid holiday every year,” she said. “I hope it will be considered in the current discussions.”

Mathias Hallerbach of the C&C Human Resource Development, which recruits Filipinos to work in German hospitals and caring facilities, said it was “absolutely the right decision” for them to come to the Philippines.

“The educational system is excellent with a four-year bachelor degree. The gap between the German and Philippine degree is really low so adjustment is rather easy for the nurses,” he said.

“Then also the culture is very similar. If you’ve lived in the Philippines, if you’ve worked in a hospital in the Philippines, you’ll be more than welcome to work in a hospital or nursing home in Germany. You will be having an easy time to adjust,” he added.

HEALTH WORKERS
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