Gov’t again allows deployment of health workers with contracts as of March 8

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 20) — The government is again easing the deployment ban on medical workers, allowing those who have secured employment documents on or before March 8 to leave the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, policy-making body in the government’s COVID-19 response, made the decision Thursday afternoon, its spokesperson said, revising a resolution it released early this week.

“Kapapasok lang na balita, nadesisyunan po ng IATF ngayong hapon na yung mga health professionals na meron na pong mga papeles, ibig sabihin, yung OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) na issued ng POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) at ‘yung employment contract na verified as of March 8, 2020 ay pwede pong lumabas ng bansa,” IATF spokesperson Harry Roque said in a short video announcement.

[Translation: This just in, the IATF decided that health professionals with documents, meaning the OEC from POEA and verified employment contracts as of March, can now leave the country.]

“Pwede rin pong lumabas ng bansa ang mga balik-mangaggawa or yung mga nagbabakasyon lang sa PIlipinas at matagal na pong nagtatrabaho sa abroad,” Roque added, without disclosing more details.

[Translation: Filipinos who are just visiting the country but have long been working abroad can also leave.]

The government in April already exempted from the deployment ban all medical workers who have completed their documents by March 8, ahead of the imposition of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

However, an August 17 resolution from the IATF stated the temporary suspension of the deployment of all medical and allied health workers, without mentioning any exemptions.

Some nurses’ groups have called on the government to totally lift the deployment ban, saying Filipinos have the right to seek opportunities abroad. The IATF, however, cites the continuing state of public health emergency, with more than 178,000 people having contracted the viral coronavirus disease.