Lawmaker urges IATF to remove cap on health workers deployment

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 17) — A member of the House of Representatives on Sunday questioned the Duterte government's move to limit healthcare workers' deployment abroad to 5,000, stressing there was "no point in restraining" them when the Philippines only offers low wages.

Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor in a statement urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to reconsider the annual supply of Filipino health professionals that are allowed to go abroad.

"As far as we're concerned, there's really no point in restraining our healthcare workers from leaving for abroad, if we can't provide them good-paying jobs here at home," he said in the statement.

"If they've already received hiring notices from foreign employers, we should just allow them to leave," Defensor added.

Defensor also expressed worries about possible exploitation from securing overseas employment certificates to point of departure in immigration counters if the IATF still pursues this move.

The IATF late last year said the move was needed given the "national demand" for healthcare workers amid the pandemic.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in December said the supply cap would begin this year.