Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has temporarily suspended the deployment of nurses and other medical professionals abroad due to continuing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
IATF issued Resoution No. 64 on Monday which reimposed the total ban on the deployment of these health workers.
“Considering the continuing State of Public Health Emergency, the overseas deployment of the medical and allied health workers is hereby temporarily suspended pursuant to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Governing Board Resolution No. 09, series of 2020,” the resolution read.
The resolution also urged the Department of Health (DOH) and government hospitals to hire healthcare workers to augment the workforce as cases soared to over 160,000.
“For this purpose, the DOH and all hospitals and healthcare facilities of local government units and entities are enjoined to hire these medical and allied health workers to supplement their current workforce,” it added.
In explaining the decision, National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. emphasized the need to ‘preserve’ healthcare workers to sustain the fight against Covid-19.
“This is a long fight. We need to preserve the strength of our healthcare workers. If we allow our healthcare workers abroad, there will be a morale problem,” he said.
Galvez also said it is the ‘heroic duty’ of medical professionals to serve the country.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) earlier issued Resolution 09, temporarily suspending the deployment of all healthcare workers “until the national state of emergency is lifted.”
IATF-EID eventually allowed healthcare workers with perfected and signed overseas employment contracts as of March 8 to work abroad.
In a virtual Palace briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Resolution 64 was merely a ‘reiteration’ of the POEA resolution.
“The POEA has long suspended deployment. They’re no longer processing new permits for medical professionals to work abroad,” he said.
Roque said the reason for the suspension is that “charity begins at home”, especially after medical frontliners sought for a ‘timeout’ to prevent the collapse of the country’s healthcare capacity.
“We need our health professionals now more than ever because just two weeks ago, out medical front-liners were seeking for a timeout,” he said.
He said in addition, the government was also looking out for their welfare. (via PNA)