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Mike Defensor urges IATF to reconsider 5K cap on deployment of health workers: Why force them to stay if there are no jobs in PH?

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Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor has called on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to reconsider the 5,000 annual limit on the number of Filipino healthcare workers who could leave the country for jobs overseas.

Defensor, a vice chairman of the House committee on health, said exit quotas or similar restrictions will only expose individuals to potential exploitation, from the time they apply for overseas employment certificates up to their point of departure in immigration counters.

“As far as we’re concerned, there’s really no point in restraining our healthcare workers from leaving for abroad, if we can’t provide them good-paying jobs here at home,” he said in a statement on Sunday, January 17.

“If they’ve already received hiring notices from foreign employers, we should just allow them to leave,” Defensor added.

The 14 categories of newly hired healthcare workers covered by the 5,000 single combined annual deployment cap are medical doctors, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, x-ray technicians, nursing assistants, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment.

According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, nurses comprise the largest group of newly hired healthcare workers leaving the country every year.