Duterte lifts deployment ban on health workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — President Rodrigo Duterte has now allowed nurses and other medical workers to leave and work abroad, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III confirmed on Saturday.

Bello said, the lifting of the deployment ban is effective immediately.

He added that only 5,000 health workers are allowed to be deployed to other countries per year.

In a previous decision, Duterte only allowed healthcare professionals with complete employment documents and visas as of August 31 to leave the country.

Health workers group Filipino Nurses United (FNU) welcomed this development.

"The nine months waiting of nurses for the temporary suspension of deployment is a big relief for those who applications to work abroad is completed or almost completed," it said in a statement.

However, FNU pointed out that the yearly cap on health workers will not be workable "unless the government pays the several months of delayed salaries, absence of COVID-duty hazard pay, and special risk allowance for all the 16,746 health workers."

The deployment ban was placed to keep nurses and medical professionals in the country to boost the local fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.