As a way to help other foreign countries that are in need of health and medical workers, some of our health workers yearned to work abroad. They’ve studied to be able to do it but now, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or the POEA postponed health workers’ deployment overseas; including nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff abroad as our country faces one of the worst hits of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
This postponement of the deployment of medical staff abroad was said to be because our country needs them more. Based on the memorandum by the POEA, it was aimed to prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system at the time of the national state of emergency.”
When did the moratorium take effect?
As per the document that the POEA postponed health workers’ deployment overseas , it was effective back on the 2nd of April 2020. So from that date until the time that the quarantine or the deployment ban will be lifted, workers wouldn’t be able to go outside of the country.
Teddy Locsin Jr., the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), reacted negatively on this temporary ban of health workers who are to go abroad, as ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
The fight is not over. We will fight the ban in the IATF. We will fight the ban in [the] Cabinet… We will never surrender our constitutional right to travel, and our contractual right to work where there is need for our work. This violates the Constitution in 3 ways: right to travel, inviolability of contracts, [and] punitive ex-post facto resolution.”
In his tweet, it can be noticed that he is not positively with the order from the IATF concerning the fact that the POEA postponed health workers’ overseas deployment.
— Dodo Dulay (@dododulay) April 10, 2020
He said that the this action by the POEA is violating the Constitution of the Philippines; not just one (1), but three (3) reasons are why they’re considered as violating it.
Who would be part of the temporary deployment ban?
As per the document, these are the following workers who would not be allowed to travel during this time:
- Clinic Analyst
- Doctor and/or Physician
- Laboratory Technician
- Medical Technologist
- Molecular Biologist
- Nursing Assistant/Nursing Aid
- Operator of Medical Equipment
- Repairman of Medical-Hospital Equipment
- Respiratory therapist
- Supervisor of Health Services and Personal Care
- X-ray or Radiologic Technician
In addition to that, they said that several negotiations of bilateral labor agreements are suspended until the time is right for the state of national emergency is lifted. More so, people who look forward to working abroad can wait for the lifting of the travel ban restrictions.
Negotiations of bilateral labor agreements for government-to-government deployment of health care workers are temporarily suspended until the duration of the national state of emergency.”
The country under the state of national emergency
Back on the 15th of March 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Luzon under a strict quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus. This quarantine is aimed to minimize, and if possible, eliminate the movement of people from one place to another.
This way, the virus would be honed and contained and the streets will be safe for everyone again. Along with this, several restrictions in traveling have been made, including the inability of people to leave the country during this state we are now in.
As of writing, the total number of confirmed cases in the country has reached 4,428 with a total of 247 fatalities; only 157 has recovered. To those cases, at least 252 of them are medical and health workers.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the total number of medical workers who contracted the virus, 152 of them are doctors and about 63 are nurses. Given that, would it be better for them to leave? Or would it be right for them to serve the country?
As stated by DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin, they’ve paid for their education; why clamp them up here in our country where they have opportunity to work abroad? What do you think about the fact that the POEA postponed health workers’ deployment overseas for them to prioritize our country?
Is this fair for them and for everyone? As he mentioned, he, being the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, objects to this idea.
Well, I, as SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, object to it, and fill up the silence of the DFA representative. I REJECT THIS ABOMINATION.”