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Asia Minute: Marcos says Philippines will send more nurses overseas

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. philippines
Aaron Favila/AP
AP Pool
FILE - Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. gestures as he delivers his first state of the nation address in Quezon City, Philippines, Monday, July 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, Pool)

Hawaiʻi is still suffering from a shortage of health care workers — including nurses. Many of those jobs are filled by “travel nurses” from the mainland. But another potential source of nurses may be growing.

The Philippines government plans to increase the number of nurses the country sends abroad.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. says heʻll “open more slots” for nurses to work overseas.

His comments come amid a sharp rise in global demand for nurses.

Government figures show about 316,000 nurses from the Philippines working overseas at the end of last year.

The top destinations: Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany and Japan.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration says that since the pandemic, demand has also risen in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Straits Times reports that more than half of the 10,000 migrant nurses working in Singapore are from the Philippines.

But COVID-19 also strained personnel for hospitals in the Philippines — leading the government to initially ban overseas work for health care workers — and then limit the numbers to a yearly cap.

Right now, that number is limited to 7,500 health care workers a year.

Marcos says he'll raise that number — although he did not mention by how much, or when the changes would take place.

The president also says he'll support more benefits and scholarships for nurses working in the Philippines, but he did not share any details of those plans.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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