Nurses insist on lifting of deployment ban

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    DESPITE the recommendations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to the contrary, the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) wants the deployment ban for healthcare workers lifted.

    In a statement dated September 13, the PNA said they still opt for the full lifting of the POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 09-2020 that prohibits the deployment of Filipino health care workers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    “If the government cannot give what is due the nurses, then their moral choice to work abroad should not be attacked. The foundation of social contract between the people and the government must never be violated,” said PNA President Rosie de Leon.

    “In times when people have to earn and live, a little respect and a dignified existence are all that they need from those who govern them,” she added.

    De Leon said many nurses have received notifications from their employers abroad requiring them to immediately report back to work or face the consequences of not complying with the terms of contracts.

    De Leon said other nurses fear they cannot pay the debts they used to process their job applications if they are not permitted to work abroad.

    “Our nurses’ situation is more serious than before,” said de Leon.

    Last April, the POEA imposed a deployment ban to selected categories of healthcare workers, saying there is a need to ensure the country continues to have a steady supply of health personnel amid the pandemic.

    The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) imposed an exemption to the deployment ban for those with verified employment contract as of March 8, saying such workers can leave the country for overseas employment.

    Recently, several health workers groups have called for the lifting of the deployment ban.