Duterte eases travel ban on health workers

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has eased an overseas travel ban on Filipino nurses and other medical workers to allow more to take jobs abroad, his spokesman said, as his government believes it has its Covid-19 outbreak under control.

Thousands of health workers, who call themselves “priso-nurses”, appealed to the government to let them travel, Reuters reported last week.

The nurses say they feel underpaid, under-appreciated and unprotected in the Philippines.

Duterte approved the proposal of the labour ministry to expand exemptions from the ban to those who had overseas contracts and complete documents as of Aug 31, spokesman Harry Roque told a regular briefing yesterday.

So far, only those with contracts as of March 8 have been allowed to travel.

Roque said the president’s decision would benefit 1,500 health personnel.

“These are nurses who have already spent a lot (of money) processing their papers.

“There are not that many, so we have allowed them to leave,” Roque said.

Healthcare workers from the Philippines are on the frontlines of the pandemic at hospitals in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, as well as at home. — Reuters

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