POEA to issue guidelines on lifting of deployment ban

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    THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is set to issue guidelines on the lifting of the temporary ban on overseas deployment for healthcare workers.

    Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Saturday said President Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to lift the deployment ban on nurses and other healthcare workers but there will be a limit of 5,000 healthcare workers deployed every year.

    The POEA in April imposed the temporary suspension in the deployment of healthcare workers to ensure a steady supply of healthcare professionals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the agency is working on the guidelines. He said the lifting of the ban “will take effect upon the approval of a governing board resolution of the POEA.”

    The private recruitment industry said it is hoping the deployment limit would not count those who are being deployed by the POEA.

    “The private sector is requesting that the 5,000 deployment be limited to the recruitment and deployment of licensed recruitment agencies and that the POEA, which is also recruiting nurses, should not be included in the 5,000 cap,” said recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani.

    “If the POEA’s deployment of nurses is allowed to participate in the 5,000, the private sector will have only one-half of the 5,000 cap,” he added.

    The annual deployment of nurses and other healthcare workers is estimated to be around 10,000 to 12,000.

    Meanwhile, former government consultant Dr Tony Leachon said government cannot blame health workers for seeking employment abroad “because there are no stable career opportunities and compensation for their education and hard work.”

    Leachon, former adviser of the National Task Force on COVID-19, issued the statement days after Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero said that of the 11 nurses assigned by the Department of Health to the province for COVID-19 response augmentation, nine did not receive any salary while the two others received wages for 2 months. The 11 also did not get any employment benefit.

    The DOH said it is investigating the report.