FILIPINO nurses are not commodities that can be treated like political bargaining chips, a party-list congressman said.
While Ang Probinsyano Rep. Ronnie Ong welcomed the decision of the Philippine government to ease up on its deployment ban for healthcare workers, he said this must be done on humanitarian grounds and not because the government needs to get vaccine dole-outs from other governments.
“I don’t know what our labor officials are thinking but our nurses and our medical professionals are not commodities and should not be treated as such. Since the start of the pandemic they’ve been brave and tireless on the frontlines fighting this virus for us,” Ong lamented.
“We are are hoping that it is not just an exchange of our nurses for the vaccine. Hindi naman sila commodity na ganyan ganyan lang. Treating them like fish baits to get our vaccines is absolutely demeaning for our healthcare workers who are known all over the world for their dedication and professionalism. Nakakahiya naman tayo masyado,” Ong said.
Instead of demanding vaccines for nurses, Ong said the government should instead seek assurance from other governments that all the Filipino healthcare workers who would be deployed are given the best health protection and fair treatment in terms of pay and other benefits recognizing that a lot of our healthworkers and their families were economically displaced because of the pandemic.
While there really is a need to prioritize the vaccination of outbound Overseas Filipino Workers as the country open the deployment ban, including those who are not part of the healthcare sector, Ong said the job of providing workers these vaccines is the sole responsibility of the Philippine government after all.
“With or without the vaccines coming from other governments, our OFWs should be vaccinated. It’s our government’s job to procure these vaccines through decent and legal means, not trade workers for vaccines. Stop this unacceptable disservice to our OFWs, especially our healthworkers who have sacrificed so much for our country since the pandemic began,” he said.
OFWs play a very crucial role in our bid to perk up the economy as remittances represent a huge portion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
From P33.5 billion in 2019 OFW remittances dropped to around P27.346 billion in 2020 when the government started implementing various levels of quarantine protocols including full community lockdowns.Publication Source : People's Journal