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Teddy Locsin says: ‘Let as many’ nurses go abroad

By Camille Santiago Published Mar 25, 2021 11:12 am

Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin Jr. says that it is "unconstitutional" to keep health workers from seeking job opportunties abroad.

"Why keep nurses here where they earn next to zero. Let as many go as want," Locsin tweeted. This was after Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) administrator Bernard Olalia said that around 3,000 nurses already left the country in the first three months of the year.

He adds, "It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL to detain persons seeking to travel. What is their crime? Usefulness. What is our crime: selfishness."

In April last year, the Philippine government temporarily implemented a deployment ban that prohibited health workers including doctors, nurses, and other medical workers from leaving the country, saying their own country needed them in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. This left thousands of "priso-nurses," as they called themselves, jobless.

Locsin also expressed his concern, tweeting, "Have idiots ever heard of Constitutional right to travel especially to get the hell out of here and get decent jobs and decent pay abroad?"

This year, however, the government relaxed the travel ban, but limits the number of medical professionals leaving the country to 5,000 a year. The POEA is offering to "trade"  nurses for COVID-19 vaccines.