The Filipino Nurses United expressed disappointment at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) decision to impose a deployment ban on nurses, nursing aides and nursing assistants after the 5,000 cap for the year has already been reached.
The FNU said the decision is not fair since many nurses are already in the process of applying for jobs abroad, preparing their documents, taking examinations, and securing visas and other requirements, according to a report by Jamie Santos on Unang Balita on Monday.
The group added that the deployment ban should not be imposed since there are enough nurses in the country.
It also said nurses would stay in the country if they are given good salaries and benefits.
“Kahit ipitin mo ang mga nurses natin dito sa Pilipinas, hindi naman sila magwo-work sa ospital as nurses kasi hindi naman matutugunan ‘yung mga financial needs nila. Kaya sila kailangan mag-abroad kasi matindi ang pangangailangan ng mga pamilya at kinakailangan na masuportahan nila for survival,” Jocelyn Andamo, FNU secretary-general, said.
(Even if nurses are made to stay in the Philippines, they would not work in hospitals as nurses because their financial needs will not be met. The reason why they go abroad is because of financial need. They need to support their families to survive.)
In an advisory, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia on June 1 said the 5,000 cap on new hires for healthcare workers to be deployed abroad has already been reached.
“Pursuant to POEA governing board resolution No. 17, series of 2020 on the lifting of the moratorium or temporary suspension on the deployment of nurses, nursing aides and nursing assistants until it reaches the annual deployment ceiling of 5,000 of new hires for healthcare workers, this administration hereby announces that the ceiling has been reached as of date,” Olalia said.
He said the POEA will thus no longer process and issue overseas employment certificates (OEC) for new hires.
However, those who were already issued OECs will be allowed to leave for abroad, Olalia said.
The government’s new policy of allowing only 5,000 healthcare workers to take up jobs abroad each year began on January 1, 2021.
The FNU said based on data from the Professional Regulation Commission, more than 570,00 passed the Nurses Licensure Examination from 2000 to 2019.
Of this number, only 200,000 to 250,000 went abroad for jobs.
Around 90,000 are locally employed, the FNU said.
This leaves at least 220,000 nurses who are either misemployed or underemployed in the country, the group added.
The FNU said they are one in the fight against COVID-19, but nurses should be adequately compensated for their work.
“Ang pangangailangan natin to help personnel ay sana seryosohin ng pamahalaan. ‘Yung sinasabi namin na ‘yung mass hiring dapat mag-offer sila ng maayos na sahod na compensatory sa laki ng responsibilidad at trabaho ng mga nurses,” Andamo said.
(We hope the government will seriously look into the needs of healthcare workers. During mass hiring, they should offer jobs with good salaries which will compensate the responsibility and workload assumed by nurses.)
“‘Yung reap na hinahanap nila ngayong pandemya. Ibigay nila ‘yung sapat na benefits, hazard pay. ‘Yung kasiguruhan ng trabaho,” she added.
(The reap they are seeking during this pandemic — they should give enough benefits, hazard pay, security of tenure.) —KG, GMA News