Press Release
April 19, 2023

Pia laments direct, wholesale recruitment of healthcare professionals

* Highlights of the statements of Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
* Chairperson, Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Innovation and Futures Thinking

Before I go to the next resource person, I'd like to get the quick reaction - para we can have a little bit of a discussion here, Dra. [Marilyn Lorenzo, UP Manila professor] - from both DMW and DFA.

Dra. Lorenzo was basically saying that unethical na talaga ang ginagawa ng ibang [foreign] recruiters. They would go [directly] to our hospitals or our schools, and wholesale get the whole group [an entire medical team], which to me is, that's terrible. I mean, honestly, I'd use the term, it's 'modern-day colonization.' They just come in. And in as much as, I will repeat, I respect the right of every Filipino - nurse ka man, abogado ka man, ano ka pa man - to choose their own future, I am not comfortable and I will not tolerate that they come in and wholesale recruit this whole group and then paralyze a sector of our healthcare system that is providing these services to our people, whether it's private or public.

I understand and you are sharing with me the perspective of the nurses that you speak to. And I recognize that. I value their comments. These are true insofar as their perspective is concerned. And they have all the right to choose to work abroad, I have no qualms with that. I have friends and family who are nurses in the US. But from a government's perspective, from an advocate's perspective, I need to understand, what can our government agencies also do?

It's really important to me what the reasons are why they noted naman yan, valid yan. I am very careful because I don't like to be misquoted. I am for the personal growth of every individual. But the perspective I am looking for is what can DFA and DMW do by way of bilateral agreements? By way of telling these countries that are either sending government missions or private missions. So I wouldn't know, ano ba say niyo kapag private mission, na teka muna, grabe ang ginagawa niyo dito. Pupunta kayo sa isang ospital, sa probinsya, tinanggal niyo ang isang buong division na nagma-maternal care o emergency care. Can you do this to us? So that's my question. Can that be addressed? Can you handle that? [referring to DFA and DMW]

I agree with you, it is a paradigm shift. But this has been existing for years. So my challenge to everyone here now is, do we want to solve this during the time that you, me, us, we are sitting here today? Kasi how many years ko nang alam itong problemang ito, I feel bad na no one has ever taken the lead. And now that we have a Department of Migrant Workers, my understanding of your job is the welfare of the migrant workers who are already there. So that's why in my limited understanding of your interaction with DFA. DFA ito, kasi if I say, I need you to protect the Philippines, I am not talking about its territorial waters, I am talking about the healthcare of Filipinos na wholesale nga nila kinukuha ang mga healthcare workers natin. Help me negotiate. I want you to tell me, how do we do that? How do we negotiate? Agree, paradigm shift. Dictate to me because I will hand it to you on a silver platter and get the people involved so that we can do it.

News Latest News Feed