President Rodrigo Duterte examines the injury of a patient in Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City on November 15, 2019. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang on Monday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the pandemic task force’s proposal to lift the prohibition on overseas deployment of medical workers amid the Covid-19 crisis.

“Inaprubahan po ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang rekomendasyon ng inyong IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) na lifting ng temporary suspension ng mga nurses, nursing aides at nursing assistants,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

Duterte’s termination of the ban was earlier disclosed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration ordered the deployment ban on April 2.

The ban covered medical doctors or physicians, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, X-ray or radiologic technicians, nursing assistant or aides, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment.

Roque earlier said the ban would remain until the Covid-19 crisis fell under control.

While the ban has been repealed, Roque said the country would only allow 5,000 “new hires” to be deployed every year.

“Inaprubahan din ng pangulo ang paglalagay ng annual deployment ceiling na 5,000 new hires for health care workers sa lahat ng bansang kanilang pupuntahan simula a-uno ng Enero ng susunod na taon.

“Ang pagtanggal ng ban sa deployment ng health workers ay sang-ayon sa polisiya ng pamahalaan na magkaroon ng full employment, itaas ang standard of living at pagandahin ang quality of life ng lahat,” he added.

The country has recorded 420,614 Covid-19 cases as of Nov. 23. John Ezekiel J. Hirro