MANILA — A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Monday urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to temporarily suspend the deployment of Filipino nurses abroad as the country battles the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez made the call after it was reported that Germany is flying in at least 75 Filipino nurses to care for Covid-19 patients.
“(DOLE) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello should suspend the sending of nurses abroad. We need our healthcare personnel here at this time of public health emergency to attend to sick Filipinos, and not to foreigners,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the pandemic is overwhelming the country’s healthcare system with many public and private hospitals complaining about the lack of personnel, even as hundreds of doctors, nurses, and hospital staff have been in quarantine after their exposure to the virus.
“We need those nurses bound for Germany and other jobs overseas to augment our dwindling public health workforce,” he said.
He said the deployment of healthcare workers abroad could resume after the country has successfully battled the public health emergency.
Rodriguez also urged the Department of Health to refrain from “asking for volunteer doctors and nurses but to instead hire them and pay them professionally with competitive rates”, noting that they should be given hazard pay and special risk allowance.
“They should be properly compensated. They are our modern-day heroes,” he said.
Based on the latest DOH report, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country has reached 1,418 with 71 deaths.
A total of 42 patients have also recovered as of posting. (PNA)