Nurses make up 99% of addt’l 1,500 slots in HCW deployment cap — POEA

Marje Pelayo   •   June 22, 2021   •   418

MANILA, Philippines – The annual deployment cap on Filipino healthcare workers (HCWs) set by the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) will be increased by 1,500 more slots, according to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

However, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said on Tuesday (June 22) that all 1,500 slots will be used by nurses who already have secured employment overseas.

“Iyong 1,500 ninety-nine percent (99%) niyan talagang mga nurses po lahat. One percent lang po ang other mission critical skills natin. Napakaliit po na bahagi noon,” Olalia said.

Recently, the POEA temporarily suspended the process of sending out newly hired nurses abroad after the initial deployment cap of 5,000 a year was reached.

The additional 1,500 slots will be given to HCWs whose deployment papers were being processed prior to issuance of POEA’s advisory.

“Ang ginagawa po natin, kung sino po ang tapos na ang deployment papers, bibigyan na po sila ng OEC through the in-house facilitation ng ating mga agencies,” Olalia said.

“Binigyan po natin ng authority ang ating mga recruitment agencies na mag-process ng kanilang deployment. At kung kumpleto na po, sila na po mismo ang magbibigay ng OEC sa kanilang mga nurses,” he added.

The deployment cap was imposed to ensure that the country will have enough healthcare workers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DOLE denies deployment ban on health care workers

Maris Federez   •   November 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  has denied reports of a deployment ban on health care workers, particularly nurses.

In a statement, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that since the deployment cap of 6,500 has already been reached, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced the temporary suspension of deployment.

However, there are exemptions to the said ban.

“We have already reached the current ceiling of 6,500 on the deployment of health care workers. However, OFWs under the Balik Manggagawa, government-to-government arrangements, and those who will be deployed in the United Kingdom are exempted from the suspension,” Bello said.

The labor chief also said that the lifting of the suspension is subject to the evaluation by concerned government agencies of the current situation on the deployment of healthcare workers.

“The Labor Department will confer the matter with the Professional Regulation Commission, the Philippines Nurses Association and the Department of Health should there be a need for the increase of say, another 1,500 in the existing cap,” Bello said. —/mbmf

Increase in annual deployment cap for HCW, not yet recommended — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   September 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is not keen on increasing the current deployment cap for healthcare workers (HCWs).

This is despite requests from other countries like Brunei and Germany.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, they need to assess first how many healthcare workers are left in the Philippines since many opted to work abroad.

“Hinihintay muna namin iyong assessment kung ilan pa ang ating mga nurses at healthcare worker na nandito sa ating bansa. Dahil tinitiyak natin na kapag dinagdagan pa natin ang deployment ng mga nurses ay hindi tayo mababawasan to the extent na wala nang titingin sa ating mga kababayan pagdating ng panahon,” Bello said.

Initially, the deployment cap for healthcare workers was 5,000.

In June, the IATF increased the deployment ceiling to 6,500 after the initial cap was reached midway of the year.

Bello said they have already coordinated with the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) to conduct an inventory of nurses to make sure that the country has sufficient health workforce should the COVID-19 situation in the country turn critical.

Still, healthcare workers may opt to leave for countries exempted from the deployment cap such as in the United Kingdom.

Bello said they are also weighing things in relation to Brunei’s request for exemption from the deployment cap.

According to the Philippines’ labor office in Brunei, the sultanate is in need of around 200 nurses and 30 doctors.

Nurses in Brunei can earn as much as $2,000 US dollars a month with free accommodation and transportation.

According to PNA, healthcare workers in the Philippines are actually enough in terms of number.

However, the group said, there are no attractive offers in the local healthcare industry that is why many choose to work abroad for greener pastures.

Citing the DOH’s Human Resource Development Bureau, Labor Assistant Secretary Nikki Tutay said that from a total of 601,796 registered nurses in the country, more than half or 339,335 are either migrants or with working contracts abroad.

Meanwhile, more than 183,491 are in the country and currently employed.

However, there are around 70,000 who are either unemployed or working outside their fields of study.

The official noted that the Philippines still needs around 120,000 nurses more to fill the staffing gaps and achieve the target ratio of 24 nurses for every 10,000 population.

“Kung merong kang mahuhugot sa 70,000 either doon sa mga hindi nagtatrabaho o nagtatrabaho sa ibang sektor kulang pa rin po iyong supply ng ating nurses,” said ASec. Tutay.

DOLE is also coordinating with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to consider schools that have moratoriums for nursing enrollees to increase the number of students.

ASec. Tutay noted that there were no new nurses last year after the board exam was suspended due to the pandemic.

This year, only 5,000 nurses passed the nursing board exam.

Records show that before the pandemic, the Philippines produced an average of 20,000 to 30,000 registered nurses annually. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Brunei seeks exemption from PH’s deployment cap on healthcare workers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government of Brunei is requesting exemption from the Philippines’ current deployment cap on healthcare workers.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there is a demand for around 200 nurses and 30 medical doctors in Brunei based on a report from Labor Attaché Melissa Mendizabal of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Brunei Darussalam.

Mendizabal said Brunei initially requested for exemption in 2020 but it did not materialize. Another request was sent in July this year.

“There are two hospitals here, one government hospital and one private hospital. The salary is comparable to the salary of nurses in Singapore. Nurses receive high take-home pay because of the free accommodation and transportation. If they render overtime work, they earn as much as 2,000 Brunei Dollars per month,” said the labor attaché.

Other than the healthcare sector, the official also mentioned job opportunities in the oil and gas industry as well as in the household service sector.

Around 10 percent of the Filipino population in Brunei work in the oil and gas sector and receive higher salaries ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 Brunei dollars. Among these workers are engineers and architects.

Mendizabal added that there is also demand for semi-skilled workers, such as car technicians of high-end vehicles in Brunei.

“The Brunei government is trying to implement localization, meaning they want to employ the locals here,” she said.

“But when it comes to supervisory and managerial roles, they give these positions to our Filipino workers,” she added. At present, there are around 20,000 OFWs in Brunei.


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