MANILA – The Philippine government has temporarily suspended the overseas deployment of health care workers amid the state of public health emergency in the country due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In Governing Board Resolution No. 09, series of 2020, dated April 2 but released on Monday, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) approved the temporary suspension of sending Filipino health care workers abroad until the current crisis is over.
“Now, therefore, the POEA Governing Board in a meeting duly convened, resolves as it is hereby resolved, to support the national objective of controlling the spread of Covid-19 through the regulation in the deployment of Filipino health care workers through the mission-critical skill (MCS) framework and to prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system at the time of the national state emergency,” said the resolution signed by POEA Governing Board chairman and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Among those temporarily barred from leaving the country are medical doctors/physicians, nurses, microbiologists, medical biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, X-ray/radiologic technicians, nursing assistants/aides, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment.
It added that the order was issued to ensure that the country has a sufficient number of health workers amid the public health emergency.
"Whereas it is of paramount national interest to ensure that the country shall continue to have, sustain the supply, and prepare sufficient health personnel to meet any further contingencies, especially to replace, substitute or reinforce existing workforce currently employed, deployed or utilized locally," it said.
Likewise, the POEA temporarily suspended the negotiations of government-to-government hiring of Filipino health workers.
“Resolved further, that negotiations of a bilateral labor agreement for the government-to-government deployment of health workers are temporarily suspended until the duration of the national state of emergency,” the resolution added.
The POEA is also set to come up with guidelines that will “amend, clarify, and/or provide program support to this Resolution pursuant to lawful orders.” (PNA)