Press Release
September 9, 2020


"Kaisa ng labor groups at nurses organizations, I reiterate their request that the deployment ban be lifted. Hayaan nating makalipad ang health workers na ilang buwan nang hindi makapaghanapbuhay."

This was the statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros as she urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to reconsider the ban on the overseas deployment of medical and allied health workers pursuant to IATF-MEID Resolution No. 64. Currently, thousands of healthcare workers awaiting deployment stand to be affected.

Through a letter sent to IATF Chairperson Sec. Francisco Duque III and IATF Co-Chair Sec. Karlo Nograles, Hontiveros said that while she understands the need to prioritize the country's health care system, she empathizes with the plight of health workers who after going through the tedious process of trainings and securing necessary documentary requirements and permits, will only get barred from leaving the country.

"Hindi lang oras ang inilaan ng ating mga kababayan para lang makapag-abroad. Marami ang nangutang, nagbenta ng ari-arian para lang masuportahan ang pangarap. They must be allowed to leave." she added.

The Senator also said that instead of implementing a deployment ban, the government should put in place higher wages and better working conditions for our health care workers that will encourage them to stay and work locally.

"Ayon sa datos ng Department of Labor and Employment, ang sahod ng entry level nurse ay nasa P8,000 - P13,500 kada buwan. Paano ito makabubuhay ng isang pamilya? Tayo rin ang may pinakamababang pasahod sa health care workers sa SouthEast Asia. Hindi pwedeng pipigilan natin silang umalis, pero hindi natin sila bibigyan ng dahilan para mag-stay," Hontiveros said.

While the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act provides employment and additional benefits for health workers, Hontiveros said that it should not restrict them from working overseas especially if they have already been hired, complied with requirements, and just waiting to be deployed.

"While the reasonable amount of P13.5B was allocated for the continuous employment of Human Resources for Health and additional benefits for all health care workers under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, I believe the law should also allow health care workers who have already secured employment abroad to be deployed," she said.

The proper implementation of this Act, according to Hontiveros, will invalidate the need for such a ban or prohibition. This will also help the country raise the line and capacitate our health care systems with less nurses, doctors and other allied health workers leaving for overseas employment.

"Dapat taasan ang sweldo, bigyan ng overtime pay at palawigin ang kanilang benepisyo. Kung naaalagaan ang kapakanan nila, hindi na kailangan ng deployment ban sa mga susunod na taon. Mas mapapalakas din natin ang ating pampublikong kalusugan dahil mas maraming health workers ang pipiliing manatili sa bansa," she concluded.

Please see attached letter to IATF in pdf

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