Binay seeks inquiry on overseas deployment ban of health workers

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    SEN. Nancy Binay has called for an inquiry in aid of legislation into the temporary deployment ban on healthcare workers imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19.

    Binay filed Senate Resolution No. 514 after Filipino nurses bound for the United Kingdom were reportedly offloaded by the Bureau of Immigration on Sunday despite their supposed exemption from the ban.

    She said she wanted to know the guidance set by the POEA and IATF on the deployment ban, claiming last Sunday’s incident shows the policy “is disjointed and conflicting, and it implementation is probe to lapses.”

    The Philippine Nurses Association has appealed to government to allow 600 nurses to leave the country.

    Binay earlier urged the lifting of the deployment ban, insisting the government has no right to prevent healthcare workers from working abroad to provide for the needs of their families.

    “We must not hold hostage our healthcare workers’ desire for a better life for their families,” Binay said.

    Last August, the IATF suspended the deployment of medical and allied health professionals abroad to augment the number of frontline workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic following an earlier order by the POEA last April.

    The Department of Health has projected the country would need 16,500 medical frontliners in the battle against the deadly virus. Only 10,468 slots have been approved, however, with 7,850 having been filled up.