Temporary ban on deployment of nurses abroad urged

A HOUSE leader on Monday urged Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III to temporarily stop the deployment of Filipino nurses abroad while the country is battling the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendment, said he is making the appeal after reading a news report in Rappler a few days back that Germany was sending a plane to Manila to ferry “at least 75” intensive care unit (ICU) nurses to care for Germans infected with COVID-19.

The report is titled, “Germany flying in Filipino nurses to care for their coronavirus patients.” “Secretary Bello should suspend the sending of nurses abroad. We need our healthcare personnel here at this time of public health emergency
to attend to sick Filipinos, and not to foreigners,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said the country’s healthcare system is already overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and many public and private hospitals are complaining of lack of personnel.

He noted that due to its depleted manpower, the Department of Health (DoH) is looking for volunteer doctors and nurses.

“We need those nurses bound for Germany and other jobs overseas to augment our dwindling public health workforce,” said Rodriguez.

He said hundreds of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff have already been sidelined by COVID-19 as they are on quarantine due to exposure to the virus.

The Cagayan de Oro City lawmaker said the sending of healthcare workers abroad could resume after the country has successfully battled the coronavirus diseases.

Rodriguez also urged the DoH to refrain from “asking for volunteer doctors and nurses but to instead hire them and pay them
professionally with competitive rates.”

He said the recruits should also be given hazard pay and special risk allowance.

“They should be properly compensated. They are our modern-day heroes,” he added.