Bello denies nurses-for-vaccine offer to UK, Germany
MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III on Thursday denied reports that Filipino nurses and overseas Filipino workers were being swapped for Covid-19 vaccines from the United Kingdom and Germany.
In an interview on DZMM Teleradyo, Bello explained that Filipino nurses and OFWs should receive Covid-19 shots before they leave for the UK.
“Ang daming nagsasalita hindi naman nila alam ang nangyari. Kung ide-deploy natin sila, tiyakin natin na ligtas sila, may vaccine na sila,” he said.
(A lot of people are talking without knowing the facts. If we deploy our workers, we want to make sure that they are vaccinated.)
Bello recently came under fire after he reportedly talked to UK’s Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce for vaccine donations and offering in return an exemption from the 5,000-a-year limit on the overseas deployment of Filipino health workers.
“Wala kaming kinalaman dyan sa status ng vaccine. Ang amin lang, if they want our nurses, I want to be sure na pag pinadala natin eh safe sila,” Bello said.
(I have nothing to do with the vaccine status. What we are after is that if they want to hire our nurses, I want to make sure that they are safe.)
Bello said the Philippines has an “oversupply” of nurses.
The government, however, imposed a cap on the deployment in a bid to prevent a shortage.
“Siguro kung 400,000 meron tayo nyan. Kaya lang may limitation para hindi tayo mawalan. Kasi kung pabayaan natin, i-open mo, eh marami talagang pupunta abroad dahil maganda ang kanilang hanapbuhay doon,” he said.
(I think we have around 400,000. But there is a deployment limit so that we won’t run out of nurses. If we don’t do this, a large number will really opt to seek greener pastures abroad.)
Pruce, meanwhile, said there were “no plans” to agree to such a deal.
He said talks are underway for the deployment of Filipino nurses and vaccine donations, but said these are separate matters.
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