MANILA — The government's pandemic response task force will wait for the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte on pleas to lift the deployment ban on health workers, Malacañang said Thursday following calls from different groups.
Officials have already discussed proposals to exempt nurses and other medical workers with contracts signed as of Aug. 28 but President Duterte should still be consulted on the matter, his spokesperson Harry Roque said.
"Kinakailangan po muna konsultahin ang Presidente kasi 'yung desisyon po na mag-impose muna ng moratorium ay desisyon po ng Presidente," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
(We need to consult the President first because the decision to impose a moratorium was the decision of the President too.)
"Ayaw naman po namin pangunahan po ang ating Presidente," he added.
(We don't want to pre-empt the President.)
Only health care workers with existing employment contracts as of March 8, 2020 are allowed to work abroad as the Philippines, a key exporter of nurses and other medical workers, sought to keep a reserve force of medical workers to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Groups of nurses and medical workers have called on the government to lift the deployment ban.
Earlier this week, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III advocated expanding the exemption from the overseas deployment ban to include nurses and health workers with signed contracts as of last month.