The biggest group of medical technologists in the US is seeking a review of the Philippine cap on the deployment of health care workers to America, the Labor Department said Sunday.
Labor Attaché Angela Librado Trinidad of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Washington D.C. said the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) made the request in light of the many opportunities in the United States.
Trinidad told a virtual forum that PAMET cited an estimated demand for 110,000 medical technologists in the United States.
“We recently met with PAMET, which has chapters all over the US, to discuss their concern as their profession is included in the deployment cap. They want to know if the limit can be relaxed because they are interested in providing opportunities to their fellow medical technologists,” Trinidad said.
She said that the government respects the right of workers to labor mobility, but at the same time explained that the deployment limit was imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to make sure that the Philippines does not run out of medical professionals amid the persisting COVID-19 pandemic.
The Labor official said most of the job orders that the POLO receives are those in the healthcare industry. It is projected that in the next few years about 2.5 million nurses are needed due to a large number of retiring nurses in the US, she added.
In its jurisdiction, POLO Washington D.C. records 514,000 documented Filipino migrant workers in the eastern part of the US and 12,000 workers in Caribbean islands, with most of them located in the Cayman Islands.
Most of the job orders that the POLO receive in the eastern region are for health care workers while those in the Caribbean Islands are for service and tourism industry workers. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
During the height of the pandemic, Trinidad said that over 2,000 overseas Filipino workers availed of the one-time P10,000 assistance under the Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong and most of those who did were Filipino workers in the Caribbean.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday appealed to nurses and doctors to heed the call of the government for more COVID-19 medical frontliners as surges in cases were logged in various parts of the country.
Duque, in a Dobol B TV interview, said the Department of Health (DOH) has difficulties in finding applicants for its emergency hiring program.
He said some registered nurses and doctors are looking for greener pastures abroad or in other non-medical professions while some are
afraid of contracting COVID-19. “We cannot blame them for having fears but we are appealing to them that at this time of health crisis, we have no choice but to help each other out,” Duque said in Filipino.
“We, the nurses and the doctors, know that our main job is to take care of patients. If we are going to refuse this kind of job, then why did we take this profession if we will not respond to our country’s needs?,” he said.
On the other hand, Duque assured nurses that personal protective equipment and other necessary tools are provided by the DOH all over the country to ensure the patients and the medical frontliners’ protection against COVID-19.
Duque said the central office has already downloaded funds to DOH regional offices for the emergency hiring program.
As early as April, the DOH has been appealing to nurses and doctors to join the government’s health workforce.
The DOH said there are enough funds for the employment of additional manpower, but only a few health workers were heeding the call.
But Vice President Leni Robredo said it is wrong to accuse health workers of running away from their duties as they only want to receive the compensation that they deserve.
Robredo issued this remark after Duque’s appeal to nurses and doctors to heed the government's call to respond to COVID-19 effort.
Robredo said health workers need to be compensated properly as they have made many sacrifices during the pandemic. Some medical workers have also died in the line of duty since the pandemic began in 2020.