Defensor to IATF: Reconsider cap on healthcare workers deployed abroad
MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor is urging the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to reconsider the 5,000 cap placed on the number of newly hired Filipino healthcare workers that may be allowed to leave the country for overseas employment.
“There’s really no point” in barring healthcare workers from working overseas, “if we can’t provide them good-paying jobs here at home,” Defensor said in a statement.
“Exit quotas or similar restrictions are not really desirable because they tend to expose individuals to potential exploitation – from the time they apply for overseas employment certificates up to their point of departure in immigration counters,” Defensor, who serves as vice-chairperson of the House health committee, added.
Defensor said healthcare workers who already have hiring notices from their foreign employers should be allowed to leave the country.
“While we recognize the need to lessen the loss of mission-critical skills, we also have to be mindful of the State’s constitutional duty to promote a rising standard of living and improved quality of life for all Filipinos, including our healthcare workers and their families,” Defensor said.
“We must also stress that every Filipino enjoys the right to sell his or her skills to the best employer here or abroad that will offer the greatest reward,” the lawmaker added.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said the 5,000 cap per year on the overseas deployment of nurses will only cover new hires and will not be a permanent policy.
The 14 categories of newly hired healthcare workers covered by the 5,000 single combined annual deployment cap are medical doctors, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, x-ray technicians, nursing assistants, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment.
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