DOLE mulls raising nurses, health workers deployment cap

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 11 2021 10:30 AM | Updated as of Nov 11 2021 11:16 AM

MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday said there is another call to increase the cap on the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers abroad.

“Meron na namang panawagan ang mga healthcare workers kung maaari dagdagan. Sabi ko teka muna kausapin ko muna ulit yung PRC (Professional Regulations Commission), yung Philippine Nurses Association at Department of Health kung kaya pang magpadala ng additional healthcare workers,” said DOLE Chief Silvestre Bello III.

(There's another call to from healthcare workers to increase the deployment cap but I said I would have to consult again the PRC, PNA and the DOH if we could still send additional workers.)

The Philippine government raised the annual cap of nurses and other healthcare workers seeking work abroad from 5,000 to 6,500. The limit was set to ensure that the country has enough workers if the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

“Naabot na natin yung limitation,” he said.

(We've reached the limitation.)

 “That’s why we’re very careful about the deployment,” he added.

Bello said Filipino nurses look for overseas jobs as the pay there is much higher compared to what they are receiving in the country.

He said there are nurses in the private sector who are not paid the minimum wage. There are employers who pay workers maximum of P10,000 to P12,000 a month.

"Hindi natin masisisi ating mga healthcare workers kung gusto nilang mangibang bansa para makakuha naman sila ng sahod,” he said.

(We can't blame our workers if they want to work abroad to get the right pay.)

Bello also added that foreign employers prefer to hire Filipino healthcare workers.

“Ang ating nurses are the most preferred medical worker sa buong mundo. Germany nga lang ilang beses na akong kinukulit ng ambassador nila. They need 15,000 nurses and healthcare workers kaya lang sabi ko hindi namin kaya yan,” he said.

(Our workers are the most preferred medical worker around the world. Even the ambassador of Germany has said that they need 15,000 nurses and healthcare workers but I said we can't deploy that many.)