The Philippine government is negotiating for at least 600,000 COVID-19 vaccines from the United Kingdom and Germany before allowing the deployment of more health workers to their countries.
DOLE international labor affairs bureau director Alice Visperas said at a virtual briefing yesterday that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has asked the governments of both countries to provide the Philippines with vaccines in exchange for the deployment of more Filipino health care workers (HCWs).
Visperas said that Bello informed these countries that the country will reconsider the deployment cap of healthcare workers if they will agree with the vaccine request.
Both Germany and UK have been asking to lift the cap on healthcare workers from the Philippines.
Filipino healthcare workers are in demand in the aforementioned European countries.
“Yung 2002 at 2003 agreement with the UK may dalawang bilateral agreement tayo don at matagal na siya. Yung pangalawa yung hiling na vaccine na mabigyan tayo sa Pilipinas lalo na sa ating mga OFWs,” Visperas said.
The labor official added that Bello only wants to ensure that OFWs will not be left behind if countries will demand for vaccinated workers since the country has yet to roll out its mass vaccination program.
“Importante sa mga OFW na papaalis karamihan sa mga bansa ngayon na kumukuha ng worker gusto na nila may vaccine na yung kinukuha ng worker at ito ang gusto ni Labor Sec Bello na magkaroon ng vaccine ang OFWs,” she added.
Visperas said that there is no figure on how many COVID-19 vaccines Bello has requested for OFWs but it should be around the 600,000 figure of displaced OFWs. (TDT)