NEARLY 200,000 Filipino healthcare workers were left empty handed after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) imposed a deployment ban amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a virtual press conference, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said only about one percent of the 200,000 workers were able to leave the country despite the exemptions granted by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"Our total deployment of health workers for April was 1,107. That means 99 percent were prevented from leaving and less than one percent were able to leave," said Bello.
The imposition of the enhanced community quarantine in most parts of the country also prevented these workers from leaving.
"We can also say that deployment was really slow because their recruitment agencies are likely to be working with skeletal workforces only, so the processing of their papers cannot be expedited," said Bello.
Last month, the POEA imposed a deployment ban for selected types of health workers citing the dwindling human resources in local hospitals and medical facilities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Those covered by the ban are medical doctor/physician, nurse, microbiologist molecular biologist, medical technologist, clinical analyst, respiratory therapist, pharmacist, laboratory technician, X-ray/radiologic technician, nursing assistant/nursing aide, operator of medical equipment, supervisor of health services and personal care, and repairman of medical-hospital equipment.
The IATF, however, ordered the exemption of healthcare workers with perfected and signed contract as of March 8. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)