MANILA—A group of nurses on Wednesday again urged government anew to lift the overseas deployment ban on all health-care workers, saying it is their right to seek better opportunities abroad.
Filipino Nurses United president Maristela Abenojar, in an interview on ANC, said there were enough nurses in the country even if the government lifts the ban.
"Some of our nurses are pushed to leave our country is because of the very low salary and the lack of appreciation our government is giving to our nurses here," Abenojar said.
The annual cap of deployment of medical professionals overseas is also "unnecessary" and "unjust," she said.
"For us, the 5,000 cap is unnecessary and it is not just for our nurses who have already processed all the documents and necessary papers for having a better opportunity outside the country," she added.
Last week, the inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response raised the annual cap to 6,500.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has said that 99 percent of the 1,500 additional slots would go to nurses.
Abenojar said hospitals still face "chronic understaffing" because salaries were "not enticing."
"They're not even enough for our nurses to survive individually," she said, adding nurses in private hospitals earn an average of P8,000 to P10,000 per month.
"Working here in the country is really sacrificing a lot because aside from the very low salary, they're not even well protected and compensated facing the battle of COVID-19," Abenojar added.