(FILE) Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello. PHOTO BY EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom (UK) to further protect the rights of migrant Filipino health workers.

According to Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III, the agreement will further enhance the protection mechanisms for Filipino healthcare professionals in the areas of recruitment, policy development, and education and training, while the British government extends to Filipino workers in the UK the same employment rights and benefits as UK nationals.

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding on the Recruitment of Filipino Healthcare Professionals between the Philippines and the United Kingdom comes at a very crucial time,” Bello said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“We have concluded this undertaking at a time the whole world is struggling to manage and cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing about a global need for healthcare workers whose contributions to the pandemic battle has been undeniably crucial and immeasurable,” he added.

Bello added that the signed MOU will also help promote the welfare of Filipino workers in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Philippines and the UK.

“Also important is that the signing of this agreement will further bolster the good ties between the two governments,” he said.

Bello also promised that the Philippines is ready to deploy Filipino healthcare workers to the UK, effectively exempting it from the deployment cap of healthcare workers to other countries.

“With the British government’s request for exemption from the deployment quota, the Philippine government assessed its own need for healthcare workers vis-a-vis the need of other countries,” Bello said.

“We acknowledged it was also our duty to help other countries in their fight against the pandemic as a member of the community of nations. Thus, the Philippine government acceded to the request, with a colatilla that the healthcare professionals to be deployed will be further protected through a bilateral labor agreement,” he added.

Meanwhile, private hospitals recently expressed alarm over an “exodus” of health workers leaving the Philippines for better opportunities abroad.

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines said that about 5 to 10 percent of nurses have resigned in recent weeks to leave for other countries.


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