Total lifting of deployment ban unlikely during state of calamity — Malacañang

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — The total easing of the overseas deployment ban on health workers is off the table for now with a national state of calamity in place, the Palace said on Tuesday.

"Malinaw po ang Presidente: habang meron po tayong state of calamity dahil sa COVID-19, mahihirapan pong ma-lift yang ban na yan," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual briefing.

[Translation: The President's stand is clear: lifting this ban would be difficult to do while the country remains under a state of calamity due to COVID-19.]

While the government has yet to decide on the full lifting of the ban, President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed healthcare professionals with complete employment documents as of end-August to leave and work abroad, Roque announced on Monday.

READ: Health workers with complete employment papers as of Aug. 31 now allowed to leave the country

Duterte extended the country's state of calamity status until September 12, 2021 as the Philippines continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. For him to lift the status, a vaccine and cure for the highly contagious disease must become available, the Palace earlier said.

The government has revised its stand on the deployment ban multiple times.

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In April, authorities announced the exemption of all medical workers with complete documents as of March 8, ahead of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

In August, the Inter-Agency Task Force released a resolution temporarily suspending the deployment of health professionals without any exemptions. The IATF eventually revised this resolution a few days after, allowing those with contracts and overseas employment certificates before March 8 to work abroad.