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DOLE eyeing deployment of more HCWs

The Department of Labor and Employment has asked for another increase on the deployment cap on healthcare workers (HCWs), including nurses abroad, as the 6,500 limit has already been reached.

Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the additional 1,500 HCWs are on top of the 1,500 earlier approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Only 1,500 because I know from my experience when I recommended 5,000, they only accommodated 1,500. So as not to make it difficult for the IATF, I just recommended 1,500. All in consultation with the Philippine Nurses Association,” he said in a virtual forum yesterday.

“The 5,000 that have been exhausted that is the reason why I actually recommended an increase of 5,000 so the only decision of the IATF was to increase only by 1,500 so that makes it 6,500 and then subsequently that was exhausted again. I think we have reached 6,670 plus,” he added.

In June, the 5,000 deployment cap has been reached, prompting the DOLE to ask for an increase of 1,500 that was granted by the IATF.

Asked if the IATF-EID has already answered his request, Bello said, “I was not informed by our representative in the technical working group if it’s included in the agenda because the focus of our IATF now is this ECQ because a lot of people are requesting it.”

“There are other cities and municipalities, at present they are in MECQ, they also want to graduate to ECQ. So that’s what the IATF is taking care of right now,” he added.

The temporary deployment cap is imposed by the government to ensure that the country will have enough supply of medical workers amid the persistent threat of the pandemic.*PNA

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