Deployment cap on healthcare workers covers new applicants only — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   November 25, 2020   •   270

MANILA, Philippines — Health workers who wish to work abroad may now begin processing their documents after the lifting of the deployment ban that was imposed early this year due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said about 90% to 95% of health workers going abroad are nurses while the remaining percentage normally are doctors, dieticians, or some anaesthesiologists. 

But the official noted that only 5,000 health care workers will be allowed to leave each year. 

The said number only covers first new applicants and is apart from those under the Balik-Manggagawa program or those who have existing contracts abroad but are on vacation in the Philippines.

Bello explained that there is a chance that the deployment cap may increase depending on the recommendation from the Department of Health (DOH) in consideration to the health care system in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that before the pandemic started, about 12,000 to 16,000 health workers left the country each year for better employment abroad.

Ayaw lang natin na mangyari na walang limit ang dami ng lalabas. Pagdating ng panahon lumala itong pandemya at wala tayong mga nurses tayo naman ang kawawa (We cannot just allow that there is no limit in the number of departures. In case the pandemic situation in the country worsens and we don’t have enough nurses, we would suffer),” Bello said.

Meanwhile, Bello confirmed that DOLE is now pushing for a salary increase for nurses in the private sector to make it equal to that of nurses in the government sector which is at P30,000 for an entry level.

Currently, the highest salary that a nurse in the private firm receives is about P18,000 a month that’s why Bello urges private hospitals to also take into consideration the welfare of their respective health workers.

May mga nurses pa na sa halip na sila ang sinuswelduhan sila pa ang nagbabayad (There are nurses who, instead of receiving a salary, are the ones shelling out money) under the guise of training fee,” he said.

The official noted that there is now a bill filed in Congress that seeks a salary increase for nurses in the private sector. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

400K OFWs sent home during pandemic — DOLE

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

Manila, Philippines — Over 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been sent home since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

As of January 16, the Labor Department records a total of 410,211 repatriates who have undergone quarantine and were cleared of COVID-19.

“After their ordeal in their country of origin, our dear OFWs were all provided accommodation, food, transportation, and cash assistance by the government. Now, they are safely home with their families,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

The latest figures from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration showed that 8,273 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces last week.

An estimate of 60,000 to 80,000 more OFWs are expected to be repatriated this year, according to reports from the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices of DOLE. AAC

OFWs exempted from travel ban on countries with new COVID-19 strain cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in countries with a travel ban from the government are exempted and will be allowed to enter the Philippines, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a press conference on Tuesday (December 29), Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said President Rodrigo Duterte wants OFWs to be able to return to their families.

Bello said returning OFWs would need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Some 60,000 to 100,000 OFWs are expected to return in the next two weeks, he added.

Duterte, on Monday (December 28), approved the imposition of travel ban on countries with confirmed reports of the new strain of COVID-19. The travel ban will take effect on December 30 at 12:01 a.m. until January 15. AAC

DOLE’s TUPAD program pays P4.5-B to nearly 1 million workers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 29, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) cash-for-work program has provided emergency employment to close to one million workers.

As of December 28 under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, 939,209 informal sector workers hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and those affected by the successive typhoons last month, received assistance.

More than P4.5 billion in wages in just close to two months was provided by the program to the informal sector workers.

Beneficiaries of the program are paid for work done for a minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 16 days based on the threshold requirements in the area.

Bureau of Workers with Special Concern (BWSC) director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla said that 797,222 beneficiaries had been paid while 141,989 have ongoing jobs.

Trayvilla said TUPAD may reach more than one million beneficiaries with more funds still available from the P6-billion appropriation under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

The National Capital Region topped the regions with the biggest TUPAD fund allocations with P923.9 million. It was followed by CALABARZON with P593.2 million, and Central Luzon with P587.1 million. AAC

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