Only few takers of gov’t offer of nursing jobs
MANILA, Philippines — Most of the nurses who returned to the country are not interested in working for the government, primarily because of the short contract offered to them, Assistant Health Secretary Kenneth Ronquillo said on Tuesday.
The nurses want more stable jobs, Ronquillo told a Senate hearing.
The government has appealed to health workers to work in hospitals in the country and has imposed a deployment ban for the workers, except for those with perfected contracts as of March 8.
Only 209 interested
Ronquillo said the Department of Health (DOH) was given a list of 1,700 overseas Filipino health workers, mostly nurses.
The DOH called them up, he said, but only 209 expressed interest in working for the government.
Of the number, 109 have submitted documents, three have been offered jobs, and two are to be interviewed.
“We also have difficulty in getting these applicants to work. I think [their] concern is that we are offering a job that will not last long,” Ronquillo said.
The contract is only up to Dec. 31, he said, because that is when the budget would last.
Even after the DOH told the nurses that the contract will be renewed when the 2021 budget has been approved, this is still not enough, he said.
“Our health workers, our [overseas workers], are looking for jobs that are more stable. That’s our concern now, they still prefer to leave the country because they get better offers there than what the government is [currently offering],” he said.
Ronquillo also said the government had estimated that it would need some 16,500 health workers consisting of doctors, nurses, medical technologists and others for the pandemic response.
It approved 10,468 slots for health workers and 7,850 had been hired, he said.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administrator Bernard Olalia said some 600 nurses were affected by the deployment ban, based on the requests the agency had received through the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA).
Olalia said there had been exemptions to the government’s deployment ban, such as having a perfected contract as of March 8, 2020.
Also allowed to leave the country are those who have returned home to the Philippines for vacation and are returning to the same jobs, and government hires covered by bilateral labor agreements and had contracts before March 8, he said.
Labor officials have recommended the lifting of the deployment ban with respect to the 600 workers recommended by the PNA, he said.
Group livelihood program
Meanwhile, Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) said the board had approved a P500-million fund to provide grants for group livelihood projects of former migrant workers.
The grants range from P150,000 to P1 million, Cacdac said.
He said that based on the Owwa’s experience, group livelihood projects had a higher chance of success, the reason it was encouraging these.
With the pandemic, the business might be stronger if it is run by a group, he added.
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