POEA defers deployment of health workers abroad as PH grapples COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has temporarily suspended the deployment of health care workers abroad “to prioritize” human resource in the country, which has been struggling to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a resolution, the POEA’s governing board said the deployment of health workers is suspended “until the national state of emergency is lifted and until COVID-19-related travel restrictions are lifted at the destination country.”
Health workers covered by the suspension of deployment as indicated in the resolution are the following:
- Medical doctor/physician
- Molecular biologist
- Medical technologist
- Clinical analyst
- Respiratory therapist
- Laboratory technician
- X-ray/radiologic technician
- Nursing assistant/nursing aid
- Operator of medical equipment
- Supervisor of health services and personal care
- Repairman of medical-hospital equipment
According to POEA, such a move aims to “prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system at the time of the national state of emergence.”
“Negotiations of bilateral labor agreements for government-to-government deployment of health care workers are temporarily suspended until the duration of the national state of emergency,” POEA further said.
However, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said in a tweet Friday that POEA’s action violates the Constitution.
Well they are wrong, dead wrong, and violating the Constitution. https://t.co/dmKKVBgZt1
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 10, 2020
“Well they are wrong, dead wrong, and violating the Constitution,” Locsin said, quoting DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay’s tweet where a copy of the resolution was attached.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed the country under a state of calamity due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Eventually, Congress declared a national emergency as it gave additional powers to Duterte to deal with the highly contagious respiratory illness through the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
As of Friday, health officials have confirmed 4,195 COVID-19 cases in the country with a death toll of 221.
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