MANILA--Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday said it is unconstitutional to suspend the deployment of health workers, a government directive that will be in effect until the national state of public health emergency is lifted.
Locsin was reacting to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration memorandum suspending the deployment of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers abroad in the hopes of preserving the local frontline force against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Well they are wrong, dead wrong, and violating the Constitution,” Locsin said in a tweet.
"That only makes sense and justice if we pay them foreign rates and later — this is gonna be my work — negotiate first class work contracts for them because I don't trust people in the pockets of recruiters. If suspension, we owe departing health workers mucho in Euros."
The moratorium, which took effect last April 2, states that the ban aims to "prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system at the time of the national state of emergency."
At least 252 health workers in the Philippines have contracted COVID-19, 152 of whom are doctors while 63 are nurses, the Department of Health said Wednesday.