Locsin pushes for deployment of Filipino health workers abroad
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he is currently lobbying for the deployment of Filipino health workers in countries that “need them now,” saying their contribution in the fight against the coronavirus disease across the world would “get us the gratitude of the international community.”
“There’s also now a pending issue on healthcare workers. I’m lobbying for them to go to the countries that need them now,” Locsin said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday.
“The kind of work they do abroad will get us gratitude of the international community,” he added.
Manila’s top diplomat believes the work of Filipino medical frontliners in other countries will guarantee that the Philippines will get its hands on the COVID-19 vaccine once it has been developed.
“If a vaccine will be found and I’ll tell you, I’ll shoot myself before I believe that vaccine will be discovered by one of us, it will be discovered abroad,” he said.
“And it will be discovered in a country where our healthcare workers distinguish themselves in caring for their people. And that’s why they will share that vaccine with us,” he added.
The country’s COVID-19 task force also “strongly endorsed” that the Philippines participate in vaccine trials, according to Locsin.
The foreign affairs chief, meanwhile, allayed fears that the Philippines would lack healthcare workers with the deployment of more Filipino medical frontliners overseas.
“I have allies in the IATF (Inter-agency Task Force) who pointed out (that) we have 400,000 nurses who are either unemployed as nurses or misemployed in something else already,” he said.
“So, that’s not true. It’s not that we will lack,” he added.
Earlier, The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration temporarily suspended the deployment of health workers abroad so they could help the country in fighting the pandemic.
But the deployment ban was revised, allowing nurses and other health care workers with existing contracts to return to their jobs abroad.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in a public address last May 4, said he would consult the Department of Justice on the legality of stopping health workers from migrating to other countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government will only lift the deployment ban on healthcare workers abroad once there is no more threat of the coronavirus in countries they would be deployed in, Malacañang had said.
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