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Cap on healthcare staff allowed overseas raised
Published on: Saturday, June 19, 2021
By: GMA News
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Cap on healthcare staff allowed overseas raised
Nurses take their oaths in Manila (Reuters).
MANILA: The Philippine government has increased the cap for the number of health workers that can be deployed abroad from 5,000 to 6,500, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Friday.

Roque said health workers who can be deployed are those who perform mission critical skills with perfected contracts as of May 31.

Healthcare workers under government-to-government labor agreements, however, are exempted from the adjusted ceiling.

The decision came after the  Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), in a June 1 advisory, said the 5,000 cap on new hires for healthcare workers to be deployed abroad has already been reached.

POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said they will thus no longer process and issue overseas employment certificates (OEC) for new hires.

Filipino Nurses United (FNU), A group of Filipino nurses, in response called on the government to lift the deployment ban of nurses and health workers.

The cap on the deployment of healthcare workers took effect on  January 1, 2021.

It came after President Rodrigo Duterte approved late last year the recommendation by government officials to lift the temporary suspension of overseas deployment of nurses and other health workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government imposed the deployment ban to ensure the safety of Filipino healthcare workers and beef up the Philippines’ medical manpower amid the pandemic.

Meanwhile, in the same announcement, Roque said the government has moved the implementation of shortened quarantine period for individuals fully vaccinated against Covid-19 who got their vaccine in the Philippines to June 22 from June 16.

Roque said this is in consideration of the full rollout of the process of validation of vaccination certificates.

The shortened quarantine period lasts seven days or half of the 14-day mandatory quarantine, of which 10 days are spent in a government quarantine facility while the rest is home quarantine.

Under existing protocol, returning Filipinos are only tested for Covid-19 using an RT-PCR test on the seventh day since arrival.

Roque also said that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infection Diseases, the policy-making body of the government for Covid-19 response, has ordered strict enforcement of current testing and quarantine protocols duly approved and issued by the IATF for inbound international travelers in all ports of the country regardless of any specific protocols that may be issued the local government units on the contrary.

Member-agencies of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, specifically the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Health and the Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, among others, with their respective regional offices, attached agencies, and government-owned and controlled corporations, have also been instructed to ensure strict adherence to the abovementioned directive. 



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