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POEA open to expanding period of exemption from healthcare deployment suspension

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday said it is open to further expanding the period covered by the exemption from deployment suspension of healthcare workers beyond August 31.

According to POEA administrator Bernard Olalia, the government is willing to study if there is a need to expand the covered period, but the agency has yet to receive requests from stakeholders.

"Sa ngayon po wala pa po kaming natatanggap na request... Kami naman po ay nag-aantay lamang," he told reporters in a virtual briefing.

He was referring to the exemption on the government's overseas deployment suspension amid global demand for healthcare workers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At present, only health workers who have overseas contracts and complete travel documents as of August 31 are allowed to exit from the Philippines for employment opportunities.

Despite a possible expansion, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had earlier shut down the possibility of totally lifting the deployment suspension.

"I would not consider recommending to the IATF and eventually to the President the total lifting of deployment suspension," he said last month.

The Philippines has recorded a total of 326,833 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, October 6, 2020. This includes 273,313 recoveries and 5,865 deaths. —KBK, GMA News