President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the United States government is enticing Pinoy nurses to work there amid the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In his late night public address, Duterte said the US is causing problems for the Philippines as it offers faster visa processing and huge pay to Filipino health workers to augment its manpower as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ngayon, ganito ang problema namin. America is part of the problem of the Filipinos now kasi sa karaming tinamaan sa kanila, marami nang patay,” the President said.
“Nanawagan sila sa mga nurse. Sige, punta kayo sa Embassy, i-process nila ang visa one day. Kinabukasan, lipad ka na,” he added.
Duterte said the US should have “relied on your own human resource.”
“Ibig sabihin dapat umasa kayo sa sariling tao ninyo,” he noted.
“Eh ngayon kinukuha, kinakaltasan mo ang Pilipinas. Pagdating ng panahon magkulang, sorry na lang tayo,” he added.
The President said he could not blame Pinoy nurses for wanting to work in another country to get a high salary.
“Hindi ko sinisisi, hindi ako galit. Wala ako emosyon about this. Kung kayong mga nurse na Pilipino, kung gusto niyo magsilbi sa ibang bayan, okay lang sa akin,” he noted.
However, Duterte said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases wanted to keep Filipino medical personnel in the country.
“Tayo naman, ang IATF ganito, ‘wag kayong umalis lahat. Either kagustuhan mo, ayaw mo, dahil there’s no end in sight,” the President said.
“Anong katapusan nito? Wala pa. And our numbers are increasing. From 200 lang, ngayon, it has ballooned. Umabot na ng 4,932 cases,” he added.
Filipino nurses in the US are among the thousands of medical workers leading efforts to combat the COVID-19.
Data from the World Health Organization showed that the US has the highest number of infections globally with more than 580,000 cases and over 23,000 deaths.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, 654 Filipinos abroad have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 12.
Of the number, 84 have died, 382 are undergoing treatment, while 188 have already recovered.