The monthly deployment of Filipino seafarers has reached almost 40,000, which is close to pre-pandemic numbers, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia said Wednesday.
In a Department of Labor and Employment online briefing, Olalia said the continuous deployment was made possible by the interventions of national government, including vaccination efforts and the crafting of guidelines.
"Nari-reach ang 40,000 level na monthly deployment ng seafarers. Kung susumahin natin ang nakaraang deployment noong pre-pandemic nasa halos ng 50,000 monthly deployment ng seafarers," said Olalia.
[We are already reaching 40,000 level of monthly deployment of seafarers. Before the pandemic, there was an almost 50,000 monthly deployment of seafarers.]
Last month, the government allocated thousands of vaccine doses to seafarers and overseas Filipino workers to fast-track their deployment. They were also given vaccines that have a wider acceptance overseas.
More countries in need of health workers
On the demand for health workers, Olalia disclosed that demand for nurses in places such as Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait is rising.
Before pandemic, only the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Japan were the top destination markets of Philippine nurses.
"Ngayong panahon ng pandemya, dumagdag ang ibang countries sa ASEAN, Hong Kong, UAE at Qatar at Kuwait nangangailangan ng nurses," he said.
[Now in the pandemic, other countries in ASEAN, Hong Kong, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait are in need of nurses.]
Recently, Olalia said there are more than 5,000 eligible nurses who passed board exams.
The national government previously increased the cap for health worker deployment in other countries from 5,000 slots to 6,500 slots.
Olalia, meanwhile, said they are not stopping health workers from "seeking greener pastures" but they are also looking into ensuring that there are enough medical frontliners in the country to support pandemic efforts. — BM, GMA News