The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday said it is looking to recommend another increase in the number of healthcare workers (HCWs) that can be deployed abroad.
In a virtual forum, POEA chief Bernard Olalia said only 1,000 slots are remaining out of the 6,500-cap imposed by the government on the overseas deployment of HCWs, including nurses.
He added that these slots are expected to be filled up by August.
“Our 6,500 if we include the United Kingdom (UK) deployment, we got that, meaning we have reached (it). But because of what our dear (Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III) said that we will not count the UK, our deployment is still almost 5,000 when it comes to what we call the cap,” he said in a virtual forum.
The government earlier granted the request of the UK to exempt them from the HCWs deployment cap.
Last June, the 5,000 deployment cap has been reached, prompting the DOLE to ask for an increase, which was granted by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID).
From 5,000, the cap has been increased to 6,500 or an additional 1,500.
The POEA reported that before the pandemic, the annual deployment of HCWs is at 12,000 to 15,000.
The government’s deployment cap seeks to ensure that the country has enough HCWs amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. (PNA)