(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said the 7,500 cap set by the government on the deployment of healthcare workers (HCWs) is still far from being reached.

“Our 7,500 is good for 2022. According to our last data, the figure of 7,500 is still far from reach. If I'm not mistaken, our technical working group doesn't need to have a meeting and make an assessment of the data,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia said in a virtual forum Wednesday.

Olalia said there is a sufficient supply of nurses in the country, but did not provide an exact number.

“There is a high supply of our nurses because the PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) has already had two exams and our nurses are currently qualified. In case it will be breached, we will set meetings with those in charge,” Olalia added.

In a briefing in May, Olalia said nurses that were deployed from January to May have reached over 2,000.

He added that the deployment cap will not be automatically removed once the country's state of national emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic is lifted.

“It will not be automatically lifted in the sense that it will be immediate. There will be an assessment of our mission-critical skills and this recommendation will be thrown to the technical working group. That is one of the things they will look into when there is no more state of emergency, maybe they will recommend lifting the deployment cap,” he said.

Olalia, however, said that they have yet to recommend the lifting of the deployment cap.

The government has imposed a deployment cap on the number of HCWs to be sent abroad to ensure that the country has a sufficient number of medical workers amid the pandemic. (PNA)