NURSES and other health workers with perfected employment contracts overseas may leave the country, but those who are still applying for work are covered by the temporary ban on the overseas deployment of healthcare workers, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced Monday, April 13.
“DONE. NURSES, other health workers with existing contracts of work abroad can leave. Future applications frozen until further notice provided all our 450,000+ nurses—exceeding by 250,000 ideal WHO ratio of people-to-nurses—must be given employment. Ty Sal Panelo and Jun Esperon,” Locsin said in a Twitter post Monday.
He was referring to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) earlier suspended the overseas deployment of healthcare workers for the duration of the national state of emergency arising from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis to avert a shortage of health workers in the country.
In a resolution passed by the POEA Governing Board on April 2, 2020, the agency said that prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was already a shortage of 290,000 health workers in the Philippines.
This shortage has been worsened by the average annual migration of 13,000 health care professionals, the agency noted.
The resolution listed 14 occupations that are considered “mission-critical skills” and are, thus, covered by the suspension.