The Department of Health (DOH) revealed that it has no idea on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s plan to send nurses to the United Kingdom and Germany in exchange for a supply of coronavirus vaccines. 

“We were not consulted, we are not even aware of this kind of exchange between our government and the other governments for this matter,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a virtual briefing.

She said the power to decide on this matter lies with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Wala po kaming impormasyon pa tungkol dito at sa tingin ko naman po ay magkakaroon ng pag-uusap ‘yan at dapat idulog sa IATF kung sakaling may ganito pong mga plano or proposal,” she said.

Earlier, a DOLE official mentioned to Reuters that the Philippines is willing to trade health workers in exchange for vaccines from Britain and Germany. 

The said proposal got Malacañang’s support, with spokesman Harry Roque explaining that “more [vaccine supply] is better than less.” However, lawmakers were quick to criticize the prosal

Senators Franklin Drilon and Joel Villanueva both called the plan a “sign of desperation” due to the delayed vaccine distribution. 

Meanwhile, UK envoy to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said that the United Kingdom has no plan to make such a deal with the Philippines. Ronald dela Cruz