June 9, 2023

Only 1,107 health workers left the country in April after the government allowed them to report back to their jobs abroad, Department of Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III. 

“Our total deployment for the month of April is only 1,107. More than 200,000 left in January, February, and March. When (the government allowed the workers to go back to work), 99 percent were not able to leave,” Bello said in a virtual press briefing.

He noted that the workers allowed to leave the country despite the deployment ban were those who have completed their papers before March 8.

“There is a deployment ban but there is an exception. And it refers to the nurses and medical workers who completed all of their papers for deployment before March 8. Those with complete papers before March 8 were allowed,” Bello said.

Aside from medical workers, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) also allowed the deployment of seafarers but only a few of them left the country.

“Recently, the IATF approved the deployment of seafarers. But again, though there was a decision to allow the deployment of our seafarers, there (were) only a few of them (who left) – maybe because the processing of their papers is slow since many agencies only have skeletal force. This is only for the health sector because of the exemption and recently seafarers but there is no movement since the manning agencies are still on lockdown,” he added.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has temporarily suspended the deployment of health care workers to ensure that the country has a sufficient number of health workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, early last month, the IATF issued a resolution allowing those whose papers had been processed before March 8 to report back to their work abroad. – PNA release