IATF recommends lifting of deployment ban on PH health workers | Inquirer News
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IATF recommends lifting of deployment ban on PH health workers

/ 07:23 PM April 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging and Infectious Disease has recommended to President Duterte the lifting of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) temporary ban on the deployment of Filipino health care workers abroad.

Duterte’s chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the task force “reconsidered” the policy on the travel ban on health workers during a meeting Monday.

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While all IATF resolutions are subject to the approval of Duterte, Panelo said it is already a “foregone conclusion” as the President has not disapproved of any IATF recommendation yet.

“The President always approves the IATF resolutions. He has not disapproved [of] any recommendation/resolution of the IATF. He stated in one of his televised message[s] to the nation that he defers to the recommendation of the IATF,” Panelo said.

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Nurses and health workers with perfected employment contracts abroad may leave the Philippines once the proposal has been approved.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Boy Locsin, Jr. said all future applications for employment abroad are “frozen” until further notice.

“DONE. NURSES, other health workers with existing contracts of work abroad can leave,” Locsin said in a tweet.

“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,” he added.

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The POEA order has drawn the ire of the country’s top diplomat, denouncing the move as an “abomination.”

“Filipino NHS (National Health Service) nurses were stopped at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) from returning to their contracted jobs in the UK. This violates the Constitution in 3 ways: right to travel, inviolability of contracts, punitive ex-post-facto resolution,” Locsin, a lawyer, said in a recent tweet.

Under the order, doctors, nurses, microbiologists, pharmacists and medical technologists, among others, cannot leave the country in “support [of] the national objective of controlling the spread of COVID-19 through the regulation [of their] deployment.”

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Deployment Ban, health workers, IATF, Malacañang, nurse, nurses, POEA, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, Teddy Boy Locsin, the Philippines
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