The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) has banned doctors and other health care workers from leaving the country as hospitals’ resources are strained due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.
In a resolution dated April 2, the POEA Governing Board led by Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III suspended the deployment of health care workers overseas until the national state of emergency declared by President Rodrigo Duterte due to the COVID-19 crisis is lifted.
Covered by the deployment ban are: doctors, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, medical technologisys, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, x-ray or radiologic technicians, nursing assistants, supervisor of health services and personal care, and repairman of medical-hospital equipment.
POEA said the deployment ban is aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 by prioritizing “human resource allocation for the national health care system at the timee of the national state of emergency.”
The state regulator said it was of “paramount national interest to ensure that the country shall continue to have, sustain the supply and prepare sufficient health personnel to meet any contingencies” in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Aside from temporarily suspending the deployment of Filipino health care workers overseas, POEA said negotiations of bilateral labor agreements for them are also put on hold.