The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday, April 15, said that Filipino workers resuming their jobs overseas may now leave the Philippines, except in countries where there travel restrictions are in place.

Issuing a statement on the lifting of suspension on deployment of Filipino healthcare workers, Administrator Bernard Olalia said that the POEA “will implement” the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution pertaining to Governing Board Resolution No. 9, series of 2020 which was issued on April 2. “The IATF-EID affirms the POEA Resolution subject to the exception that healthcare workers with perfected and signed contracts as of March 8 will be allowed to leave,” Olalia said.

Olalia noted that “balik-manggagawa” or workers resuming their jobs overseas are now allowed to leave the country. “Healthcare workers with existing contracts to fulfill can now go back to their present jobs provided that on top of existing POEA processes in the issuance of OECs [Overseas Employment Certificate], they shall be further subjected to comply with social distancing measures as well as departure and immigration procedures currently in place,” he added.

While deployment of Filipino healthcare workers are now allowed, Olalia said that they “are not allowed to go to countries where there are travel restrictions.” He added that the POEA will issue “the corresponding guidelines to implement the resolution.”

Earlier, POEA temporarily suspended the deployment of health care workers abroad amid the COVID-19 situation in the country. In a resolution signed on April 2, the POEA said healthcare workers including medical doctor, physicians, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, X-ray or radiologic technicians, nursing assistants or nursing aids, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care, and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment cannot be deployed “until the national state of emergency is lifted and until COVID-19-related travel restrictions are lifted at the destination country.”

POEA said the deployment ban aims to “prioritize human resource allocation” in the country’s healthcare system—noting that it is of “paramount national interest” to prepare health personnel that will “replace, substitute or reinforce” healthcare workers who are dealing with the COVID-19 as frontliners.

Source : Manila Bulletin Website