Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has urged Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to suspend the deployment of Filipino nurses abroad while the country is facing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need our healthcare personnel here at this time of public health emergency to attend to sick Filipinos, and not to foreigners,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
According to a report by the German Press Agency, Germany is planning to bring in at least 75 Filipino nurses to help care for COVID-19 patients in the country.
An association of over 150 hospitals in the German state of Hesse reportedly said they received a special permit to fly in Filipino nurses.
At the same time, the Department of Health is calling for volunteer doctors and nurses to help in attending to and treating COVID-19 patients.
“We need those nurses bound for Germany and other jobs overseas to augment our dwindling public health workforce,” Rodriguez said.
He added that the sending of healthcare workers abroad could resume after the country has successfully contained COVID-19.
Rodriguez also urged the health department to refrain from “asking for volunteer doctors and nurses but to instead hire them and pay them professionally with competitive rates.”
He said the recruits should also be given hazard pay and special risk allowance.
“They should be properly compensated. They are our modern-day heroes,” he said.