The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed the deployment of health workers with verified overseas employment contracts as of March 8, Malacañang announced Thursday.

“Iyong mga health professinals na mayroon na pong mga papeles, ibig sabihin iyong overseas employment certificate na issued ng POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) at iyong employment contract na verified as of March 8, 2020 ay pupuwede pong lumabas ng bansa,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a televised address.

The announcement came a day after the IATF reminded medical workers that they were prohibited from being deployed overseas amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The POEA governing board in Resolution 9 issued last April suspended the overseas deployment of health workers  “until the national state of emergency is lifted and until Covid-19-related travel restrictions are lifted at the destination countries.”

On March 8, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public emergency throughout the Philippines due to Covid-19.

‘Nationalism will prevail’

Earlier on Thursday, Malacañang and the Department of Health expressed confidence that Filipino nurses would practice nationalism in light of the pandemic.

“Sa tingin ko, sa panahon ng pandemya, mananaig naman po ang nasyonalismo sa puso at damdamin ng ating mga nurses,” Roque said in a briefing, citing benefits for health workers under Bayanihan 2 including mandatory hazard allowances, among others.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire echoed Roque’s call, saying choosing to serve the nation would “help the government.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro