More Than 100,000 Jobs For Medical Technologists Available In The US; Full Vaccination Not Mandatory For Filipino Travelers – Palace

More Than 100,000 Jobs For Medical Technologists Available In The US; Full Vaccination Not Mandatory For Filipino Travelers – Palace The Philippine Association of Medical Technologists is seeking a review of the government’s 5,000 cap in the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers abroad due to huge demand.

Overseas Filipino workers check in for their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Paranaque City on May 29, 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100,000 jobs are open in the United States for medical technologists, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

With the huge demand for medical technologists, labor attaché to Washington Angela Trinidad said the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) sought a review of the Philippine government’s 5,000 cap in the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers or HCWs abroad.

“We recently met with PAMET, which has chapters all over the US, to discuss their concern as their profession is included in the deployment cap. They want to know if the limit can be relaxed because they are interested in providing opportunities to their fellow medical technologists,” Trinidad said in a report sent to DOLE main office in Manila.

PAMET reported 110,000 vacancies for medical technologists in the US at this time, Trinidad disclosed.

It is also projected that in the next few years, about 2.5 million nurses are needed due to a large number of retiring nurses in the US, Trinidad reported.

Trinidad noted most of the job orders that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) received in the eastern region are from the healthcare industry.

In the Caribbean Islands, service and tourism industry workers are needed. Based on the POLO Washington DC data, there are 514,000 documented Filipino migrant workers in the eastern part of US and 12,000 workers in the Caribbean, many of whom are staying in the Cayman Islands.

Trinidad informed PAMET that the deployment cap was imposed to ensure sufficient supply of HCWs in the Philippines amid the pandemic. 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III previously reported that concerned government agencies are already reviewing the policy imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. At the height of the pandemic, Trinidad noted that over 2,000 displaced overseas Filipino workers have availed of the one-time P10,000 assistance under the Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong.

She said many of those who availed of the cash assistance are the Filipino workers in the Caribbean.

On June 5, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) had announced the reimposition of the temporary deployment ban on HCWs.

In Advisory No. 71-2021 dated June 1, 2021, POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said newly hired nurses, nursing aides, and nurse assistants can no longer be deployed abroad.

According to Olalia, the temporary deployment ban was imposed because the annual deployment ceiling of 5,000 for new hires had already been reached.

“The processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates and the deployment of new hires for healthcare workers are hereby suspended effective immediately,” he noted.

Olalia said that HCWs, who were already issued their corresponding overseas employment certificates (OEC), “are allowed to depart for their overseas employment.”

On June 8, Olalia bared that the POEA will recommend additional exemptions to the existing overseas deployment cap on healthcare workers (HCWs).

“We have a recommendation to the IATF. We are studying our recommendation for an increase in the (deployment) cap. Apart from the increase in cap, we also have a recommendation, if possible, to expand the exemption for us to deploy more workers,” Olalia said in a “Laging Handa” public briefing.

Last year, the government implemented a ban to prevent the manpower in local hospitals from being depleted as the country was battling rising cases of COVID-19.

The restriction was lifted in November 2020 but the government had set a cap of 5,000 deployment annually.

Full vaccination not needed

Meanwhile, Malacañang has clarified that Filipinos traveling to other countries do not need to be fully inoculated against COVID-19.

A publication material released over the weekend by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) quoted presidential spokesman Harry Roque as saying that all travelers leaving the Philippines should be fully vaccinated. One is considered fully vaccinated after having received two doses of COVID-19 jabs.

“That’s wrong. It’s not mandatory and will apply only to those who want a shortened quarantine upon their return,” Roque said in a text message to reporters on Saturday, June 12.

The PCOO has deleted the publication material from its social media accounts.

Travelers who got inoculated in the Philippines have to undergo a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival, shorter than the 10-day period required for those who were vaccinated abroad.

Under Resolution No. 120 issued by the IATF on June 10, fully vaccinated individuals must carry their vaccination card, which must be verified before departure. They should also bring with them a certification issued prior to departure by the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the city health officer of the local government unit that administered their second dose.