Med work­ers asked to stay in Phl

FNU pres­i­dent Maris­tela Abeno­jar said the move was not a blow on the coun­try’s work­force since over 200,000 lo­cal health pro­fes­sion­als re­main un­em­ployed

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MJ BLANCAFLOR AND GABBIE PARLADE @tri­bunephl_­gabs

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has ap­pealed to health care work­ers with­out con­tracts abroad to stay in the coun­try, say­ing the gov­ern­ment still needs them in the fight against the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

The Chief Ex­ec­u­tive said this Mon­day night

af­ter he ap­proved the over­seas de­ploy­ment of nurses with com­plete doc­u­ments such as visas as of 31 Au­gust. Pre­vi­ously, only those with con­tracts as of 8 March were al­lowed to leave the coun­try for work.

“This is not re­ally to of­fend those health work­ers of ours, doc­tors, nurses who want to go abroad to earn good money. I do not have any­thing against you, but I hope you will have the spirit and the fer­vor to serve the Filipino peo­ple be­cause we also need help and we have a cri­sis also to deal with,” the Pres­i­dent stated in a recorded ad­dress.

Duterte, how­ever, said he re­spects the de­ci­sion of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als who chose to work over­seas.

“But to those who are still here, please stay for a while un­til af­ter this COVID-19 will pass. It will come to pass. I’m sure,” Duterte said.

“The oth­ers, just wait for some time. We are just cal­i­brat­ing the travel of our peo­ple be­cause we also need man­power,” he added.

Nurses have long ap­pealed for the to­tal lift­ing of the ban, say­ing that it is the front­line work­ers’ right to seek bet­ter salar­ies abroad. There is no word yet from the Pres­i­dent on when he would de­cide on the mat­ter.

I hope you will have the spirit and the fer­vor to serve the Filipino peo­ple be­cause we also need help and we have a cri­sis also to deal with.

The Filipino Nurses United (FNU) wel­comed the Pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion to al­low and ex­pand the ex­emp­tion on de­ploy­ment ban, not­ing that this would ben­e­fit about 1,500 work­ers who had se­cured doc­u­ments to work abroad.

FNU pres­i­dent Maris­tela Abeno­jar said the move was not a blow on the coun­try’s work­force since over 200,000 lo­cal health pro­fes­sion­als re­main un­em­ployed.

The de­ploy­ment ban was first im­ple­mented in April as the Pres­i­dent said that he wants to keep health work­ers safe from work­ing in coun­tries with high cases of COVID-19.

The Palace on Tues­day, mean­while, ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive would sup­port the pro­posed mea­sure of his son, Deputy House Speaker and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, which seeks to hike the salary of nurses in the pri­vate sec­tor.

House Bill 7659 urges the Na­tional Wages Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion of the Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment (DoLE) to es­tab­lish a min­i­mum wage for nurses in pri­vate-owned med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties to make it at par with their coun­ter­parts in pub­lic hos­pi­tals.

Cit­ing fig­ures from DoLE, the bill noted that reg­is­tered nurses re­ceive an av­er­age salary of P9,757 monthly, lower than the pay of min­i­mum wage earn­ers each month.

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