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Recall deployment ban



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THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ought to think twice about preventing vacationing healthcare professionals with contract overseas from leaving the country.

I agree with Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, who said that POEA’s position is understandable. In essence, these health care workers could augment the platoons of doctors and nurses in hospitals in the battle against COVID-19.

Villanueva said the state could suspend the deployment of medical personnel, and the right to travel is not absolute under the circumstances.

True. But wait. POEA was quick to mouth its April 2, 2020 travel ban order, citing its aim “to prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system”.

Was it also quick to announce that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Health (DOH) would, with certainty, integrate these health workers into our country’s healthcare system? What about compensation?

Villanueva said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should also assist by contacting the workers’ employers to ensure that they would still have jobs to return to once the pandemic ends.

On Twitter, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. described the deployment ban as an abomination and swore to fight it.

“Filipino NHS nurses were stopped at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) from returning to their contracted jobs in the UK. This violates the Constitution in 3 ways: right to travel, inviolability of contracts, punitive ex-post-facto resolution,” Locsin tweeted.

Attorney Sonny Matula, Nagkaisa labor coalition chairperson, also has a good point. The ban might impose an involuntary servitude prohibited by law since the Constitution states that “no involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment of a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”.

Recall the ban. Those health care professionals should be allowed to return to their jobs abroad to fight against the pandemic in another front.

But if the government insists on utilizing their skills, then it should inform them pronto if they would seriously be given jobs and just compensation

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