Locsin: I will take care of Pinoy nurses in UK

Teodoro Locsin Jr., Ambassador of the Philippines to the United Kingdom and Ireland, was yesterday’s guest on Daily Tribune’s Straight Talk. | Photograph by Analy Labor for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_ana

Filipino healthcare workers in the United Kingdom are assured of full support from the Philippine government, Ambassador to the United Kingdom Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Tuesday.

In an interview on Daily Tribune’s “Straight Talk,” Locsin said he will work with his counterparts to address the concerns of Filipino healthcare workers in the United Kingdom.

“We bring up the issue of how about paying them commensurately for the work and risk they take. I know that’s quite a dilemma. And that’s why I want to be there for them,” he said.

Earlier this week, Britain’s largest teaching and nursing unions announced that it is preparing for another major strike in February as they demand higher wages to keep pace with double-digit inflation.

The series of strikes are not limited to teachers and healthcare workers as other industrial workers are also demanding a wage hike as the inflation in the United Kingdom runs at more than 10 percent.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, the United Kingdom is a host to some 30,356 Filipino healthcare workers.

Locsin, who was appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in August 2022 to be the Philippine envoy to the UK, said that he is aware of the series of transport and workers’ strikes in the country.
He underscored the importance of Filipino healthcare workers, particularly in countries severely hit by Covid-19 like the United Kingdom.

“They were among the highest casualties so they gave their best. What did England do? Awarded them very high distinction. And that’s something that we can say well, we deserved it. No, we did not. The ones who deserved it were, are nurses, they’re the only ones. They took the hit all the time,” he said.

Deployment ban of Pinoy nurses’

Locsin, who is the former Foreign Affairs Secretary during the administration of then-President R. Duterte, reiterated his strong opposition to the deployment ban of Filipino healthcare workers abroad.
Locsin recalled that at the height of the pandemic, he was one of those reluctant to impose a deployment ban on Filipino nurses abroad.

The deployment ban on Filipino nurses abroad, he said, was brought up in a Cabinet meeting with then-President Duterte, to ensure that there will be enough health professionals left in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“No, really. How dare you? You want a reserve core of nurses standing by in case we get sick. Reserve corps are paid,” he narrated.

He said the deployment ban was fine if the government was prepared to pay P150,000 to every nurse who will stay behind to protect us in case we get sick.


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