Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr open to planned Philippine-US deal to improve nursing sector

2023 August 9

CARE FOR PATIENTS. A nurse assists a stroke patient confined at the Medical Center Manila in Manila City in exercising his arms in this undated photo. The PCO on Wednesday (Aug. 9, 2023) said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is open to the idea of forging an agreement with the US to elevate the nursing profession and address the problems besetting the sector.

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is seeking a review of the possible partnership between the Philippines and the United States to strengthen the nursing industry of both countries, Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, Communication Secretary Cheloy Garafil said Marcos is open to the idea of forging an agreement with the US to elevate the nursing profession and address the problems besetting the sector.

“Let’s look into it… I’m sure if we figure out the details, that probably… sounds like a good idea,” Marcos said, as quoted by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

This developed after US Senator Tammy Duckworth, who paid Marcos a courtesy visit at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday, raised the possibility of sending American students to nursing schools in the Philippines.

Marcos said he wants to study the proposal before making any decision.

“We do have a problem with our nurses leaving and going abroad and finding good jobs abroad. And we certainly encourage that. We’re not about to hold them back,” Marcos said during his meeting with Duckworth.

“But we need to find these new schemes so that the brain drain is not quite severe as it is now. We have a shortage, I think, at every level in our health care system and much of the reason behind that is the talent leaving the Philippines to find better positions. But certainly, we should examine that.”

While there is no formal agreement yet, Marcos and Duckworth agreed that the proposal would benefit the two countries.

Duckworth noted that Filipino nurses could pass the licensure examinations for nursing in the US.

She also acknowledged that the US has a lack of nursing programs, adding that the country has more nursing students than nursing educators.

“You know, it would be really interesting to see if we could send American students to nursing schools in the Philippines because, obviously, you’re teaching to a standard that they can meet licensure in the US. But we don’t have enough nursing programs in the United States,” Duckworth said.

“We don’t have enough nursing educators in the United States because we just don’t have enough of them, and we have students who want to enter nursing schools but there are not enough space for them.”

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)