Press Release
September 21, 2020

Statement of Sen. Joel Villanueva on the lifting of healthcare workers travel ban

We thank the President for heeding the appeal of our healthcare workers and easing the deployment ban by allowing to leave those with perfected contracts by Aug. 31. It is a win for our healthcare workers who have been suffering from the policy, which was instituted in April with the good intention of ensuring available manpower during the height of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, we have not maximized the availability of our healthcare workers, with only 7,850 hired out of the 10,468 slots approved under the emergency hiring program of DOH, which it shared at our labor committee hearing last month. Likewise, the employment terms offered are not competitive. For instance, our healthcare workers face the reality of getting paid very low, without guarantee of hazard pay, despite working at high-risk conditions. The period of engagement is just three months, which is short considering the pandemic will likely persist through 2021. Para na rin po silang na-endo dito sa ikli ng engagement.

We will continue to push for the lifting of the total deployment ban because it unfairly affects the livelihood of our healthcare workers. If we want them to stay, our government should value them by offering better employment terms.

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