PH raises cap on overseas deployment of healthcare workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 18) — More Filipino healthcare workers can now work abroad as the country's pandemic task force has increased the ceiling on those who can be deployed.

Malacañang on Friday announced the annual cap will be increased to 6,500 from 5,000. Healthcare workers under Mission Critical Skills with perfected contracts as of May 31 will be part of the adjusted ceiling.

The cap excludes government-to-government deployment.

A temporary ban on the deployment of nurses and other healthcare workers overseas was imposed two weeks ago after the 5,000 limit was reached.

Late last year, the Inter-Agency Task Force said the cap was needed given the "national demand" for healthcare workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A nurses group welcomed the development.

"Kasi meron pa namang mga exemption... kailangan din ng Pilipinas ng mga nurses so sa tingin ko sapat na 'yan," Philippine Nurses Association President Melbert Reyes told CNN Philippines' News.PH.

[Translation: Because there are still exemptions... and the Philippines also needs nurses, so I think that is enough.]

Reyes said nurses who have remained in the country still face the same issues such as lack of job security and low salary.

"Masaya tayo na nandito sila at nagsisilbi pero nakakalungkot na hindi sila binibigyan ng pagpapahalaga," he added.

[Translation: We are happy they are here and they are serving the public but it's sad that they are not given importance.]