The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is planning to decrease the deployment of nurses to other countries, Secretary Silvestre Bello said on Wednesday.
Bello said they are looking at the possibility of lessening the number of medical professionals, including nurses, being sent overseas.
“We slowed down the deployment of construction workers earlier. Now, we want to include our nurses,” he said in an interview during the 2019 Kalayaan Job Fair in Manila.
“There could be a slowdown in the deployment of nurses because we also need our nurses, especially senior citizens,” he added.
Bello noted that he is contemplating on the plan after a dialogue with the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA). The accredited nursing organization sought his assistance to address the shortage of nurses in the country.
“All the while, I thought there is an oversupply of nurses. But I just learned that those graduating with nursing degrees and have passed the Board only train for two years and will go (abroad),” he added.
Bello said the government should do something by increasing the salaries of nurses for them to stay.
“In order for them to not want to work abroad and just stay here, we should also consider increasing their salaries. And the President appears amenable to giving them that,” he said.
Bello said the salary increase for nurses would be discussed with the Department of Budget and Management.
Filipino nurses are in demand in countries in Europe, the Middle East, among others.
Early this year, the government has implemented a slowdown in sending construction workers to other countries, by as much as 90 percent. This is due to the reported manpower shortage in the local construction industry stemming from the “Build, Build, Build” program in 75 projects.
Under the BBB program, the government will construct roads, bridges, airport, railways among others. Covering from 2017 to 2022, it has a total budget of PHP8 trillion. (By Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)