MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is opposing the temporary overseas deployment ban on Filipino health workers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The fight is not over. We will fight the ban in the IATF (Interagency Task Force). We will fight the ban in Cabinet…We will never surrender our constitutional right to travel and our contractual right to work where there is need for our work,” Locsin said on Saturday.
A Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board resolution, signed on April 2, temporarily suspends the deployment of all health care workers “until the national state of emergency is lifted and until Covid-19-related travel restrictions are lifted at the destination countries”.
“It is of paramount national interest to ensure that the country shall continue to have, sustain the supply, and prepare sufficient health personnel to meet any further contingencies, especially to replace, substitute or reinforce existing workforce currently employed, deployed or utilized locally,” the resolution read.
Covered by the deployment suspension are doctors, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts, respiratory analysts, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, radiologic technicians, nursing assistant/aid, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care, and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment.
Locsin, who has been vocal against the order, said it is unconstitutional to ban the outbound travel of Filipino health care workers.
Bello reportedly said a Department of Foreign Affairs representative at the POEA Governing Board “did not object to the resolution, which made it unanimous.”
“Well I, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, object to it and fill up the silence of the DFA representative. I reject this abomination,” Locsin said in a prior tweet. (PNA)