Malacañang on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of lifting the overseas deployment ban on healthcare workers while the Philippines is under a state of calamity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque turned down the call of the non-profit organization Filipino Nurses United for the government to end the deployment ban.
“Malinaw po ang Presidente. Habang meron po tayong state of calamity dahil sa COVID-19, mahihirapan pong i-lift ‘yang ban na ‘yan,” Roque said.
“At habang ang mga nurses ay papunta sa mga bansa na may mas maraming kaso kaysa sa Pilipinas eh pangangalagaan pa rin ng Presidente ang kalusugan ng ating mga frontliners.”
The Palace, however, supported a proposal to make the salary of nurses in the private sector at par with their counterparts in government.
Duterte has allowed healthcare workers with complete documents as of August 31 to work abroad following an appeal by the Labor department. The department said the President’s decision will benefit around 1,200 medical professionals.
On Monday, Duterte told health workers who are still in the country that their services are needed by the Filipino people.
“I do not have anything against you but sana ‘yung iba naman will have the spirit and the fervor to serve the Filipino people because we also need help and we have a crisis also to deal with,” he said in a briefing with the Cabinet in Davao City.
“Hindi ko minamaliit, nothing at all, nothing at all. I have [nothing] but respect for all of you. But for those who want to go out, puwede na ho. Pero naiwan naman, sana tagal-tagalan na lang muna ninyo until after this COVID-19 will pass. It will come to pass. Sigurado ako," Duterte said.