Marcos urges ASEAN to address brain drain in healthcare sector
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said Southeast Asian nations should find ways to address human capital flight, particularly in the healthcare sector for the benefit of the region.
According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the issue of brain drain in the region’s health sector, particularly the emigration of nurses and doctors, was discussed during Marcos’ meeting with Temasek Foundation executives at Malacañang Palace.
“We are very proud of (our nurses and doctors) and the role they play during the height of the pandemic but as I said, we are a victim of our own success,” Marcos told Temasek officials led by its chair Ms. Jennie Chua Kheng Yeng, as quoted by the PCO.
“But you know, we have to adjust and find other ways. We have to give them at least equal opportunities at home. It is very clear that most Filipino overseas workers are willing to take less in terms of pay so long as they can stay here,” Marcos added.
If Singapore can find a solution to that problem, it would immensely help the Southeast Asian region’s healthcare sector, the President said.
For her part, Chua said the Singapore nursing association has agreed to register nurses in Singapore to arrest human capital flight in the sector after the country lost 400 nurses to New Zealand, which offered permanent residency (PR).
The Temasek Foundation International chair said Singapore does not want to give Filipino nurses citizenship unlike what is being offered by the US, Canada, and New Zealand so they can go back and forth during their working years.
Chua commended the Philippines for producing good nurses and doctors, noting Singapore’s emergency room doctors are mostly Filipinos, and praised their training based on life experience.
Temasek Foundation, a Singapore-based non-profit philanthropic organization, is an arm of Singapore’s state sovereign fund Temasek Holdings.
The foundation funds and supports programs aimed at building community capabilities in Asia and beyond through philanthropic endowments.
The foundation forged agreements with the Philippines to enhance competencies across industries, through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) (Digitalization and Industry 4.0) Program, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with Design Thinking Programme, and Health Care Management Program.
Marcos and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos welcomed the Temasek Foundation in a courtesy call in Malacañang on Thursday.
The President conveyed his appreciation for the Foundation’s endeavors, particularly its future projects in the Philippines addressing climate change, agricultural sustainability, and fisheries.
Chua, meanwhile, shared that she recently met with Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. and Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople to discuss other areas of collaboration, such as the coconut and bamboo industries, and the opening of scholarship programs and permanent residencies for Filipino nurses.
During the meeting, Temasek Foundation presented a c.1963 painting of the Singapore Waterfront by Georgette Chen to Marcos Jr. and his wife.