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4月15日のまにら新聞から

Duterte says "US now part of Filipino problem" as gov't OKs deployment of health professionals abroad

[ 632 words|2020.4.15|英字 ]

The Philippine government has partially lifted its deployment ban of medical-related professionals abroad as the Department of Health would facilitate the emergency hiring of more healthcare workers amid the rising number of patients infected with coronavirus disease.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided in a meeting on Monday all healthcare workers with contracts as of March 8 would be allowed to leave the country.

"All medical and allied healthcare professionals with perfected and signed overseas employment contracts as of March 8, 2020 shall be allowed for deployment abroad as an exception to the application of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board Resolution No. 09, series of 2020," said IATF spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.

The POEA earlier temporarily suspended the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses as President Rodrigo Duterte placed the whole of Luzon, including Metro Manila, under enhanced community quarantine effective March 17.

Nograles said those who would pursue their contracts abroad have to execute a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a taped public message on Monday night, said the United States, which has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, is "part of the problem of the Filipinos now."

He noted that America has been trying to recruit more healthcare workers.

Duterte indicated that many Filipino healthcare workers might grab the chance of working in the US instead of staying in the country.

"You (US) need nurse, express. (On the other hand), we, here, are concerned because we cannot give higher salary to our nurses - I understand, that's self-preservation. They need to work. There are now job offers in America so they are going there," he said.

Duterte said US should rely on its own human resource.

"But I'm not blaming (anyone), I'm not angry, I don't have emotions actually about this. But if you, Filipino nurses, want to serve other country, other people, that's fine with me," he said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier hit POEA's resolution banning the deployment of healthcare workers abroad.

Duterte, who is taking a "contrary view," noted what Locsin had said that the Filipinos should honor their contracts, otherwise, their is impairment of obligation of contracts, and that they have the right to travel.

While the government has allowed the partial lifting of deployment ban of health professionals abroad, the IATF has directed the DOH to facilitate the emergency hiring of additional healthcare workers "to assist in the local healthcare system," subject to the evaluation of the Department of Budget and Management, Nograles said.

The IATF also adopted the DOH proposal for the Interim Guidelines for the Granting of Special Authorization for the Limited Practice of Medical Graduates.

But Nograles said the special authorizations shall only be issued as a last resort and any authorization shall only be effective for the duration of the State of Public Health Emergency in the Philippines unless earlier withdrawn by the IATF upon recommendation of the DOH.

He also said that the Health department has been coordinating with the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the University of the Philippines Diliman for the deployment of over 300 volunteer medical technologists, molecular biologists, laboratory technicians, and researchers to augment the staff of the various government laboratories, which are processing the tests of the COVID-19 patients.

"The additional manpower translates to longer laboratory hours, and hence, more tests. Aside from these, the DOH also reports that more than 1,400 medical workers completed an online biosafety course in preparation for government expanding our testing efforts," he said.

As of Monday afternoon, the DOH reported 4,932 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 315 deaths and 242 recoveries. Celerina Monte/DMS