September 7 Weekly Roundup: The Good and The Bad
The past week took Filipino nurses down a wild roller coaster ride as news of epic proportions kept on popping up in social media. Here’s a quick list of last week’s many ups and downs:
The Good: Last September 2, DOLE and POEA confirmed that they will consider extending the cut-off date for healthcare workers who will be exempted from the deployment ban. DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III and POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia mentioned this in a virtual meeting initiated by OFW group United Filipino Global and several Philippine nurse organizations. This was in line with the deployment ban that the IATF imposed on healthcare workers last April to help ensure that there will be enough healthcare workers in local hospitals and institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the pleas of hundreds of nurses who have already invested in their overseas job applications, the POEA granted an exemption shortly afterwards, specifically among healthcare workers whose job contracts were already perfected on or before March 8, 2020. Since there are still a lot of nurses affected by the ban whose job contracts were signed later than March 8, Bello and Olalia expressed that they will consider extending the cut-off date, depending on the quantity of nurses that will be deployed.
The Bad: The research of Malaysian-based data aggregator iPrice Group revealed that nurses in the Philippines are the lowest paid among all Southeast Asian countries. Based on the data that they’ve collected, experienced, mid-level nurses earn around 40,381PhP per month in the Philippines, which is 57% less than that of nurses in Vietnam, the next lowest paid nurses, who earn around 63,200PhP a month. Meanwhile, experienced, mid-level nurses earn 236,000PhP in Singapore; 97,000PhP in Malaysia; 83,000PhP in Thailand; and 79,000PhP in Indonesia. Their data also showed that Medical Technologists in the Philippines are the lowest paid, as they usually earn 29,444PhP per month in our country veersus Medical Technologists in Vietnam who earn 57,000PhP per month.
The Good: Bayanihan 2 was approved by Congress and the extension of the deployment ban cut-off received the green light. Last August 24, both chambers of Congress ratified the Bayanihan 2 bill, or the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. The bill lays out the country’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan and allocates funds to help struggling sectors cope with the impacts of the pandemic. According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the bill will allocate additional hazard allowance to medical frontliners, together with free lodging, life insurance, and tests. At the moment, only President Duterte’s signature is needed for Bayanihan 2 to finally be implemented. On the other hand, United Filipino Global’s Chairperson Ms. Gemma Sotto confirmed that DOLE and POEA have agreed to the extension of the March 8 deployment ban exemption cut-off to August 31. Though the official memo has yet to be released, the proposal, Ms. Sotto said, is already being routed for President Duterte’s approval.
The Bad: 7 Filipino nurses headed towards the United Kingdom were barred from leaving the Philippines this morning. Philippine Immigration officials prevent 7 nurses from leaving the country a few hours ago due to a different interpretation of the current March 8 deployment ban exemption. Based on POEA Advisory 47-A, healthcare workers whose overseas employment certficiates (OECs) issued on or before March 8, 2020 will be exempted from the ban. On the other hand, an internal Bureau of Immigration memo dated August 20, 2020 states that the March 8, 2020 cut-off applies to the healthcare worker’s visa, not the OEC. The confusion as to where the March 8 cut-off should be applied is still being worked on by the involved groups but no new updates about the workers have been received at the moment.
The Good: Female Staff Nurse vacancies have opened up in The Clinics, Saudi Arabia. The Clinics is an elite medical center in Riyadh offering a variety of medical and surgical procedures for patients who do not need to stay in a hospital. It extends over an area of 5,000 square meters along Prince Mohammed Bin Abdul Aziz Street, an upscale area in Riyadh. It is looking for female OR, Dental, Laser and General Nurses with at least 2 years of post-license experience in their areas. If interested, you may visit The Clinics’ job vacancies at https://applicant.abba.ph. You may also call Tine Peyra through 0917-704 7976 / 0918-286 1886 for inquiries.
We are not sure what kind of news the coming days ahead will bring, but whatever they may be, let’s all stay strong and persistent! Good things eventually happen when we continue pushing for them.