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DFA chief wants Filipino nurses’ overseas deployment ban lifted

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is consistent in his stand that government should lift the imposed overseas deployment ban on nurses and other health workers.

In an interview over ANC, Locsin said that it is his advocacy to help nurses be allowed to work abroad, and he is fighting it out in the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) meetings.

“No, I don’t want to ban the deployment of nurses. They’re badly paid in this awful country of ours. All they do is abuse these nurses,” Locsin said.

Locsin pointed out that the country has 400,000 unemployed nursing graduates that the government can hire instead. He also revealed that some of the DFA personnel had the same position as President Rodrigo Duterte that nurses need to stay in the country “as reserve force just in case the pandemic gets worse.”

“But my answer to that is, really? Reserve forces, if you want to use wartime analogies, are usually paid and they’re paid well,” Locsin rebutted. “We’re not paying anything.”

“You shouldn’t ask them to stay here while their families starve. My position is let them go,” he said.

IATF on August 17 imposed the total ban on deployment of health workers abroad, without any exemption. The decision was met with an uproar, prompting the agency to allow nurses and other medical professionals who already have existing contracts, or those who completed all their requirements before March 8 this year, to leave the country.