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Cap on health workers deployment can still be raised – DOLE

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 22)— The government can still expand the recently approved 5,000-cap on the deployment of healthcare workers, subject to authorities’ assessment of the COVID-19 situation in the country, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Sunday.

“‘Yung cap of 5,000 is also temporary kasi this is subject to regular assessment,” Bello said in an interview on CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Weekend.

“We can always expand the cap… probably we can raise to 7 or 8,000 cap depende sa sitwasyon sa ating bansa. Kapag gumaganda na ang panahon, wala na masyadong pandemya, we can increase the number of our nurses and other medical workers to be deployed to other countries,” he added.

[Translation: We can always expand the cap… probably we can raise to 7 or 8,000 depending on the situation in our country. When the situation improves, the pandemic eases, we can increase the number of our nurses and other medical workers to be deployed to other countries.]

DOLE on Saturday confirmed President Rodrigo Duterte has again allowed nurses and other medical workers to leave and work abroad, but noted only 5,000 can be deployed each year.

While the development was welcomed by health workers groups, some still expressed concern over the yearly cap.

Filipino Nurses United pointed out that the limit will not be workable “unless the government pays the several months of delayed salaries, absence of COVID-duty hazard pay, and special risk allowance for all the 16,746 health workers.”

The overseas deployment of health workers was earlier suspended in a bid to keep medical professionals in the country to boost the local fight against the coronavirus. By CNN Philippines Staff