President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed more Filipino health workers to leave the country and pursue jobs abroad provided they completed their employment papers as of the end of August, his spokesman Harry Roque announced today.
“Health professionals with complete documentation as of Aug. 31, 2020 were already allowed by the President to leave for work abroad,” Roque said in English and Filipino in a virtual briefing.
He added that this move will benefit some 1,500 health workers.
Duterte’s decision amends the government’s previous resolution to ban medical professionals from leaving the Philippines, save for those who completed their employment papers as of March 8. This was done with an aim to ensure that the country has enough skilled medical workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier this month said that the newly approved rule “won’t present a huge loss” to the country’s medical services.
A nurses group, however, had asked the Duterte government for the “total lifting of the deployment ban,” saying that it was their right to seek better salaries overseas.
Poor pay in the country has urged many skilled nurses to leave the Philippines in favor of countries like Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, where salaries are much higher. An entry-level registered nurse in the Philippines for instance, receives as little as PHP9,757 (US$200) a month average pay in public hospitals, whereas an entry-level position in the UK pays an average of GB£2,000 (US$2,627) a month.
Duterte, who’s been on the fence about Pinoy nurses leaving the country since April, said he understood their need to seek greener pastures but worried about the possible shortage of frontliners in the country.
This article, It’s Official: Duterte allows more Pinoy health workers to leave for jobs abroad, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.