Filipino health care workers cries for help as they were barred from leaving the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. condemned the order made by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to temporarily prohibit health care workers from leaving the country to work abroad.
“Filipino NHS nurses were stopped at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) from returning to their contracted jobs in the UK. This violates the Constitution in 3 ways: the right to travel, inviolability of contracts, punitive ex-post facto resolution,” says foreign secretary Locsin. National Health Service (NHS) is a publicly-funded healthcare system in the UK.
The order to prohibit health care workers to leave the country was made by POEA and was issued on April 2 but was announced to the public only last Friday, April 10.
To “prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system,” is the aim of this ban as per the resolution made to the public by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary BrigidoDulay.
It is said that this deployment ban of health workers will stay until the Philippines recovers from being in a state of emergency. Bilateral labor agreements were also suspended particularly those who are covered by the government-to-government deployment of these health workers.
Meanwhile, the UK envoy airs their side on the deployment ban of health workers from the Philippines.
“I do hope we can resolve this issue that brilliant Filipino healthcare workers, already employed by the NHS, can get back to the UK to carry on with their jobs,” says British Ambassador to Manila Daniel Pruce.
The foreign secretary is determined to fight the ban.
“We will fight the ban in the IATF. We will fight the ban in the Cabinet. We will fight shit for brains. We will never surrender our constitutional right to travel and our contractual right to work where there is need for our work,” says Locsin.