Yes, the total deployment ban of health workers abroad includes new hires and returning workers or Balik Manggagawa with contracts abroad and only in the country for vacation.
Saudi Recruitment Office in Manila confirmed this in an advisory suspending the flights of these healthcare workers scheduled this month of August.
In an advisory issued on Wednesday, Dr. Abdulrahman Aldawood, Health Employment Attache of SRO-Manila, announced the cancellation of flights for all health workers going to Saudi Arabia.
“We are sorry to announce that the special flight on August 21, 2020 for all healthcare workers is cancelled and processing of the deployment of new hires is temporarily suspended.
The new hires he referred to are the ones recruited by the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) delegation last February 2020.
Aldawood cited the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 64 dated August 17 which imposes temporary suspension of deployment on Filipino healthcare workers due to the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the Resolution, the IATF also enjoins the Department of Health (DOH), all hospitals and healthcare facilities of local government units and entities to hire the medical and allied health workers to supplement their current workforce.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III elaborated that the total deployment ban has no exemption.
Based on the new resolution of Inter-agency Task Force, there will be no exemption for the meantime. Sana ‘wag na muna magtampo ang ating mga nurses, ito naman ay temporary,” Bello said.
He added the IATF decision was made to ensure that the country has a sufficient number of workers if the need arises amid the pandemic.