MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday said around 10,000 healthcare workers (HCWs) left the country to work abroad since the start of the year.
POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the health workers, particularly nurses, are Balik Manggagawa (BM) who went home for the Christmas vacation.
“Since the start of the year, we were able to send abroad 10,000 HCWs particularly nurses who are Balik Manggagawa. They went home for the Yuletide Season and went back to their jobs abroad after the Christmas break. We continue to allow BM to leave,” he said during the weekly forum of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Olalia said the government-to-government hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are also allowed to report to their employers abroad.
“We deploy them on the basis of our bilateral labor relations we signed with other host countries. In Germany, we have 550 nurses in the pipeline for this year. We have also 400 more in the pipeline last year,” he said.
He said nurses and other healthcare works are allowed to work abroad as long as they have contracts signed as of August 31.
“Since April, May, June, more or less we send abroad 400 nurses who were hired by recruitment agencies, every month. We include direct hires upon the intervention of the recruitment agency. We have an average deployment of 500 to 600 HCWs every month despite the implementation of the temporary suspension,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved the POEA proposal to extend the exemption period from March 8 to Aug. 31 for health care workers from the temporary deployment ban to allow those who have already spent to have their documents the chance to get their money’s worth.
Duterte has yet to make a decision on the total lifting of the deployment ban due to the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019. (PNA)