Intensify hiring displaced healthcare workers - Sen. Villanueva

The declaration of a national state of emergency has resulted into the temporary deployment ban on Filipino healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, and allied health professions. Sen. Joel Villanueva suggests the agencies should tap into the pool of professions and provide them with opportunities locally.

Senate labor committee chairperson Senator. Joel Villanueva urged that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) should intensify hiring healthcare workers displaced by the deployment ban due to COVID-19. According to the Senator, the labor department should coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) to provide employment and financial assistance through the Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong (AKAP) program for Overseas Filipino Workers.

"We must understand that our healthcare workers have spent significantly on their requirements. There is no guarantee that our government would reimburse them for their expenses, so the least it can do is facilitate and expedite their hiring in our healthcare system," said Sen. Villanueva.

Under AKAP, qualified beneficiaries must either be displaced due to the imposition of lockdowns or quarantines in their countries of deployment and have not received any compensation from their employer.

President Rodrigo Duterte explained earlier in May that the deployment ban was intended to safeguard the health of migrant health workers and to address the lack of medical frontliners in the country. Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the President may engage in temporary Human Resource for Health which includes doctors and nurses and be provided with appropriate compensation and benefits such as allowances and hazard pay.

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