By Macon Araneta
Stressing that the travel ban reduces their chance for decent work-life balance and a better future for their families, Sen. Nancy Binay on August 27 urged the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the IATF to recall the deployment ban on healthcare workers.
According to Binay, the government has no right to prevent healthcare workers from working abroad to provide for the needs of their families.
“For healthcare workers, the struggle to survive is real in the midst of risks and trying to feed a family. The POEA and the IATF should understand the situation of our nurses, that they’re not just full-time in hospitals,” said Binay.
“Hindi naman gugustuhin ng ating mga healthcare workers na magtrabaho sa ibang bansa kung sapat ang kanilang kinikita dito sa atin. May pandemya po at sino ba naman ang gustong mawalay sa kanilang mahal sa buhay sa panahon ngayon?” Binay said.
“They have long been neglected. Kung itutuloy nila ang deployment ban, at the very least the government should provide our healthcare workers with compensation sufficient enough to provide for their families,” she added.
The Senator also allayed fears that the Philippines would lack healthcare workers should the ban be lifted.
She cited 2017 data from the Department of Health showing that there are over 750,000 licensed medical professionals in the country, including dentists, med technologists, pharmacists, physicians and midwives.
Of this number, only 204,437 are active in the health sector, meaning more than 500,000 licensed medical professionals are not practicing their craft.
“If the government cannot give our healthcare workers enough job and benefits, it’s not right to deprive them of the opportunity to give their families a good life,” said Binay.
The POEA had earlier issued Resolution 9, temporarily suspending the deployment of all healthcare workers “until the national state of emergency is lifted.”
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) likewise issued Resolution number 64, temporarily suspending the deployment of medical professionals.