Duterte to ask DOJ if it’s legal to stop migration of health workers amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that he would consult the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the legality of preventing health workers from migrating other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ll have to meet again and consult… [DOJ] Secretary [Menardo] Guevarra whether or not it would be legal for us to just stop the migration of health workers,” Duterte said in a public address.
“Please do not misunderstand me. I am making it clear now. I do not want you to go there and come back in a coffin. That’s my only argument, if you may, because you are Filipinos and I love the lives of my countrymen,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Earlier, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) temporarily suspended the deployment of health care workers abroad so they could help the country in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the move was eventually recalled, allowing nurses and other health care workers with existing contracts to return to their jobs abroad.
In an earlier address, Duterte appealed to health workers to stay in the Philippines.
“In ordinary times, you really can’t be stopped, and no one can tell you to leave or not to leave,” he said in Filipino,
To date, there are over 3.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide with over 245,000 recorded deaths.
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