Duterte says gov't has to look into migration of health workers amid pandemic
President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants to look into the possibility of preventing health workers from going abroad amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.
In a televised message on Monday night, Duterte said he would consult with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra regarding the matter.
"What is painful is that now that they need desperately the help of the manpower of other countries and in a jiffy they are given the necessary traveling documents - to our disadvantage really because it's minus one, minus two, minus three depending on how many (workers are needed abroad)," he said.
"The problem I said is we'll have to look into this again. It has to be this week. May be two days from now, we'll have to meet again and consult Secretary Guevarra whether or not it would be legal for us to just stop the migration of health workers simply because they are being taken in a place where is there is so much...," Duterte said.
He said the government has to do something about the problem in order for the Philippines not to be deprived of healthcare workers, such as doctors and nurses.
He also raised concern for health workers who could also be infected by the virus.
"I do not want you to go there and come back in a coffin," he said.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration earlier decided to ban the deployment of health workers abroad following the pandemic.
But due to opposition of some quarters, the the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases partially lifted the ban by allowing the departure of healthcare workers with contracts as of March 8. Celerina Monte/DMS