Palace may lift deployment ban on health workers once pandemic crisis ends

Malacañang said this week that the deployment ban on healthcare workers abroad may be lifted once the threat of the coronavirus ends in countries where they would be employed.

“Kapag humupa na siguro ‘yung banta ng Covid-19 sa mga lugar na nais nilang puntahan (Once the threat posed by COVID-19 is addressed in countries where they would be employed),” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday, May 26, when asked what would make President Rodrigo Duterte lift the deployment ban.

The deployment ban was issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration so frontliners could instead help the country in fighting the pandemic.

It was later revised to allow nurses and other healthcare workers with existing contracts to return to their jobs abroad.

Roque also said that the deployment ban only covers healthcare workers with new contracts.

“Yung mga perfected contracts po dapat napaalis. Ang sakop lang nung ban ay yung mga bagong mga kontrata na ipinasok matapos po mag-issue ng ban ang POEA (Those who have perfected contracts are allowed to leave. The ban only covers those who have new contracts after the POEA issued the ban),” he said.

Earlier, Duterte said he would consult Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on the legality of stopping healthcare workers from leaving the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Justice, for its part, said it would consider the health care workers’ right to travel and find jobs abroad, as well as the health situation in the country.

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