Gov’t eyeing new markets for Filipino nurses

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With many Filipino nurses now idle, the labor department is looking for alternative markets for Filipino nurses

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will look for alternative markets for Filipino nurses as markets, like the United States, remain tight.

“If a certain labor market in a certain country imposes restrictions or their supply quota goes down, what our DOLE does is it looks for alternative markets for our job seekers,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told a news briefing on Sunday, April 8. She was asked how the government will address the “oversupply” of Filipino nurses.

“This case is not any different and we will ask the Department of Labor to come up with information on other job markets that are available for our nurses abroad,” Valte said.

In the medium term, she said President Benigno S. Aquino III had earlier directed DOLE, Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (Ched), Technical Skills Education and Development Authority (Tesda), and the National Statistics Office (NSO) to improve the country’s job matching program.

The program would help guide students choose courses that would ensure their employment right after graduation, and not “trends” or courses that seem most viable now but “may not translate into a job four years after you graduate or five years after you graduate.”

“That’s another innovation that the President has ordered the concerned agencies to do. It’s not like we are watching by the sidelines and watching our students graduate without jobs,” Valte said.

Earlier, party-list Rep. Arnel Ty cited statistics from America’s National Council of State Boards of Nursing, which noted that the US produced close to a million nurses from 2006 to 2011.

In effect, many foreign nurses, including Filipinos, who took advantage of the opportunity and plugged the shortage of nurses in the US in the 1990’s, are now idle.  
“Right now, they have ample supply of US-educated nurses,” said Ty, the representative in Congress of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA).
He added that the demand for Filipino and other foreign nurses may recover only by 2020, when thousands of US-based nurses would have retired. –

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