MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday appealed to nurses’ sense of nationalism to convince them to stay while the country is facing a state of public health emergency amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after Filipino Nurses United sought for the lifting of the deployment ban on healthcare workers as many of them remain unemployed.
Roque said the government is already providing healthcare workers additional benefits such as risk allowance, PHP15,000 for those who get infected with Covid-19, life insurance, free accommodation and transportation, and free and frequent testing.
He emphasized that once the Bayanihan 2 legislation is passed, healthcare workers in the private sector would also get salaries and benefits as competitive as those in the public sector.
“Sa tingin ko po,sa panahon ng pandemiya, mananaig naman po ang nasyonalismo sa puso at damdamin ng ating mga nurses (I think at a time of pandemic, nationalism will prevail in the hearts and feelings of our nurses),” Roque said.
He also reminded healthcare workers to consider their family members they will be leaving behind if they were persistent in working abroad.
“Kahit mangibang bansa ang ating mga health workers, maiiwan silang mga mahal sa buhay dito at sana maisip din ng mga health professionals na wala namang mag-a-attend sa mga pamilya dito kapag kailangan ng mga health workers (Even if our health workers go abroad, they’ll leave their loved ones here. I hope they also consider that nobody would attend to their families here),” he said.
DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire echoed Roque, saying the country needs as many medical front-liners as it could get.
“Nakikiusap po kami sa aming mga healthcare workers na sana yung nationalism natin ay manaig sa panahon ngayon na meron tayong pandemya (We appeal to our healthcare workers hoping that their sense of nationalism will prevail at a time of pandemic),” she said.
According to Roque, members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) are also scheduled to discuss to deployment ban on Thursday afternoon.
“Ireresolba po e kung meron mang exemption o wala (We are trying to resolve if there are exemptions to the deployment ban or not),” he said.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) earlier issued Resolution 09, temporarily suspending the deployment of all healthcare workers “until the national state of emergency is lifted.” Exemptions were made to those who have completed their documentation by March 8.
On Tuesday, the IATF released resolution No. 64 temporarily suspending the deployment of medical professionals.
“Considering the continuing State of Public Health Emergency, the overseas deployment of the medical and allied health workers is hereby temporarily suspended pursuant to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Governing Board Resolution No. 09, series of 2020,” the resolution read.
The resolution also urged the Department of Health and government hospitals to hire healthcare workers to augment the workforce.
Earlier this month, Malacañang announced plans to hire 10,000 healthcare workers to boost the workforce.
In an interview over CNN Philippines, Filipino Nurses United president Maristella Abenojar said there is no reason why the government should ban nurses from being deployed abroad.
She said the government had no right to prevent healthcare workers from working abroad to uplift the lives of their families. (PNA)