DOLE: Duterte OKs overseas deployment of health workers with complete documents as of end-Sept.

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 21) - President Rodrigo Duterte approved to exempt nurses and other medical workers, with complete documents as of Sept. 30, from the overseas deployment ban, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

“I mentioned to the President that meron ding pakiusap yung mga nurses and medical workers na kung maaari isama na yung mga naka-kumpleto ng papeles as of September,” said Bello during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

[Translation: I mentioned to the President that there is an appeal from the nurses and medical workers if the government can include in the exempted list those who have completed their papers as of September.]

“There was a tacit approval by him so I immediately informed [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] administrator [Bernard] Olalia about the approval of the President," Bello added. "We are now submitting to the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases] our recommendation that we will allow yung mga naka-kumpleto ng mga papeles nila as of Sept. 30 (those who have completed their papers as of Sept. 30).”

Duterte previously greenlighted medical personnel to work overseas, provided that they have accomplished contracts and visa as of Aug. 31.

With the latest approval by the President, Bello said that Department of Labor and Employment is also considering to lift the deployment ban.

“Having said that, we are now seriously considering yung (the) lifting of the suspension of deployment but with certain conditionalities,” he said.

READ: No plans to lift deployment ban on healthcare workers despite pleas

He added that the government may put an annual limit on the number of medical workers allowed to work abroad.

Kaya maglalagay siguro kami ng cap. Halimbawa, we allow deployment of nurses and medical workers at the maximum, of let’s say 5,000 a year para natitiyak parin natin na hindi tayo mawalan ng mga medical services ng mga medical workers natin, in case the pandemic worsens,” said Bello.

[Translation: That’s why we will put a cap. For example, we allow deployment of nurses and medical workers at the maximum, let’s say 5,000 a year, so we can assure that we will still have the services of our medical workers, in case the pandemic worsens.]

Bello said a maximum of 1,200 nurses and medical workers may benefit from the exemption.