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Roque: No total lifting of deployment ban while PH under state of calamity

There will be no lifting of the total overseas deployment ban on nurses and other healthcare workers while the country is under state of calamity due to COVID-19, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

In a virtual press briefing on Tuesday, Roque said that while those with perfected contracts as of August 31 were allowed to leave, he does not see a total lifting of the deployment ban anytime soon.

“While we are under a state of calamity due to Covid-19, it will be difficult to lift that ban,” he said.

He emphasized that aside from needing healthcare workers to serve their fellow Filipinos, Duterte is also looking after their welfare since Covid-19 cases in the Philippines are lower than in other countries.

In a taped speech on Monday night, Duterte appealed to healthcare workers not exempted from the deployment ban to stay in the country a bit longer and serve fellow Filipinos, assuring them that the Covid-19 pandemic would “come to pass.”

“I do not have anything against you but I hope some will have the the spirit and the fervor to serve the Filipino people because we also need help and we have a crisis also to deal with,” he said.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III thanked Duterte for approving the department’s recommendation which was also adopted by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease to allow healthcare workers with complete documentation as of Aug. 31.

“So, with this approval, all those nurses and medical workers, who completed their papers for deployment as of August 31 will now be allowed to be deployed,” Bello said.

Bello also said that those who went home for vacation and were not able to leave due to lockdown can also go back to their work abroad.

He estimated that a maximum of 1,200 nurses with perfected contracts as of August 31 will leave the country to work abroad.