Duterte OK’d overseas deployment of medical workers with complete docs as of Sept. 30 —Bello

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More nurses and medical professionals will be allowed to work overseas after President Rodrigo Duterte approved to exempt those who have completed pertinent documents as of end-September, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Wednesday.

With this, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now looking into the possibility of lifting the suspension of the deployment of healthcare workers abroad.

Currently, only healthcare professionals with completed papers as of August 31 are exempted from the temporary overseas deployment ban as a measure to ensure the availability of medical workers amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Previously, only healthcare employees who have government-issued overseas employment certificates (OEC) and verified work contracts as of March 8, 2020 were exempted.

“I mentioned to the President na may pakiusap ang mga health workers na kung maari isama na ‘yung mga nakakompleto ng papeles as of September,” Bello said during the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

“There was a tacit approval by him so I immediately informed [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] Administrator [Bernard] Olalia about the approval of the President. We are now submitting to the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] our recommendation that we will allow ‘yung mga nakakompleto ng papeles nila as of September 30,” the Labor chief said.

“Having said that we are now seriously considering ‘yung lifting of the suspension of deployment but with certain conditionality,” the Cabinet official said.

Bello said the government may put a cap or limit per year on how many healthcare workers will be allowed to be deployed abroad.

“Maglalagay siguro kami ng cap. Halimbawa, we will allow the deployment of nurses and healthcare workers [about] 5,000 a year para natitiyak natin na hindi tayo mawawalan ng medical services ng mga medical workers natin in case the pandemic worsens,” he said.

On the President’s approval of exempting those with complete papers as of the end of September, the labor chief said a maximum of 1,200 nurses and medical workers may benefit. —KG, GMA News

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