MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. on Wednesday called for the lifting of a deployment ban on nurses who want to work abroad during the coronavirus pandemic.
Locsin said many of his agency's personnel share the view of President Rodrigo Duterte that nurses should stay in the country "as reserve force just in case the pandemic gets worse."
However, nurses are "badly paid in this awful country of ours," he said.
"Reserve forces, if you want to use wartime analogies, are usually paid and they’re paid well," Locsin told ANC. "We’re not paying anything."
"You shouldn’t ask them to stay here while their families starve. My position is let them go," he said.
The Philippines has around 400,000 unemployed nursing graduates that could be tapped for the pandemic, he said.
Only nurses and other medical professionals who already have existing contracts, or those who completed all their requirements before March 8 this year are exempt from the deployment ban, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had said.