The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will look into the request of some health workers to exempt those who have overseas employment contracts crafted as of August 31 from the existing deployment ban, its administrator said Wednesday.
“As of now, there is a recommendation instead of March 8, cutoff date for the employment contract if possible to adjust it since it was allowed in early June, and now its already September,” Administrator Bernard Olalia said in a virtual meeting with groups of nurses, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other stakeholders.
Olalia added they will need a number of those nurses with contracts as of August 31 and a written request from them to be able to push for their request.
“What we will do is we will get a written request from nurses, how many of them are in the pipeline and how many of them have perfected contracts as of August 31. We have to have supporting data to back our request then we can form our arguments in favor of that request,” Olalia said.
Meanwhile, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who is also one of the guests in the meeting, said they have to meet with other government agencies and stakeholders to be able to know the real numbers.
“We will first meet with the Philippine Nurses Association, Department of Health (DOH) and Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC) to know how many nurses we have and their classification for us to know if we can afford to send some abroad,” he added.
Bello said they would like to see the number of those who have completed their papers as of August 31.
“What (Administrator) Bernard said was right, if we will consider the cutoff as of August 31, we would like to see how many of them have complied and how big is the volume. If the number is the same from those who completed their papers as of March 8, numbering between 600 to 900. In my own personal assessment, we can send them away but if the statistics revealed that we will be sending off about 50,000 nurses, that would be dangerous,” Bello added.
He said the manageable number of nurses to be allowed in case the IATF approved the request, would be between 2,000 to 5,000.
“We will see if for example, we will extend it to August 31 and we will lose only about up to 5,000, maybe we can convince IATF to consider it if it (counts) beyond that, it would be very difficult,” he added.
Bello said they want to control the deployment of medical workers abroad as the country is battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“We really have to closely monitor the development of pandemic in our country, if ever we will allow the uncontrolled sending of our medical workers. I don’t was to reach that point that our fellowmen who got sick from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and there are no medical workers who will attend to them because they are all abroad,” he added.
Earlier, some medical workers or those who have contracts approved before March 8, have been allowed to report to their jobs abroad.
The suspension on the deployment of health workers was implemented to ensure that the country has a sufficient number of workers amid the pandemic. (By Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)