Deployment of 5,000 healthcare workers abroad just initial, can still increase - Palace
Putting a cap of 5,000 healthcare workers who could be deployed abroad is just the starting point and this could be removed depending on the situation next year, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the lifting of moratorium in the deployment of nurses and nursing assistants or aides overseas but with an annual limit of 5,000 starting next year.
Some sectors, including the healthcare workers, have been complaining about the cap imposed by the government.
But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a televised press briefing, said, "the 5,000, that's initial. If that is reached in the second quarter and there is already a vaccine (against coronavirus disease), that might be removed altogether."
He said the government just wants to make sure that there will be sufficient number of nurses, nursing assistants and aides with clinical experience who will remain in the country.
"Because if those who have clinical experience will leave, who will take good care of us if we get sick," Roque said.
Last April, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration issued a board resolution temporarily suspending the deployment of healthcare workers, including nurses and nursing assistants or aides after Duterte declared a state of national emergency due to coronavirus pandemic.
The nurses and nursing assistants or aides are among the 14 identified mission critical skills included in the temporary ban. Celerina Monte/DMS