Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz visited Germany on 19-22 March 2016 together with Assistant Administrator Liberty Casco and Director Nimfa de Guzman of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to promote Philippine-German labor cooperation under the Triple Win Program.
The visit was also to celebrate the third anniversary of the signing of the “Agreement Concerning the Placement of Filipino Health Care Professionals in Employment Positions in the Federal Republic of Germany,” also known as the Triple Win Project (TWP) in March 2013.
The Secretary’s visit opened on a high note with a trip to the University Hospital Tübingen (UKT), one of the biggest employers of Filipino nurses under the TWP, with 21 Filipino nurses hired so far. The UKT administration led by Prof. Dr. Michael Bamberg, together with Philippine Honorary Consul General Prof. Gerhard Zeidler, organized a special program for Sec. Baldoz and her delegation which included the Philippine Ambassador, Consul Cathy Torres and Vice Consul a.h. Cecile Krause.
Thirteen other Filipino TWP nurses from Freiburg, Munich, and Frankfurt traveled to Tübingen to join the activity with the help of the German Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the coordination of the Philippine Embassy.
Certificates of Recognition were given to those who have passed the German qualification examinstions.
In her remarks, Secretary Baldoz congratulated the nurses for what they have achieved; she challenged them to continue doing their best. “On your shoulders rests the responsibility, as the first batch of the TWP, to showcase the Filipino nurse,” she said. “Our best asset is still our human resources, and it is our country they see through you.” She conferred certificates to the nurses who had obtained their professional recognition from the German government.
Consul General Gerhard Zeidler, a.h., labeled our nurses as Ambassadors of Goodwill for the program. “Through their model work ethics and values, you can convince other hospitals of the worth of Filipino nurses.” he said. l
The nurses delivered a presentation about their experiences from the time they were deployed to Germany, including the challenges they faced and how they were able to surmount them. They made special mention of UKT’s Director of Nursing Mrs. Sibylle Jerger for making them feel welcome in their new workplace and home.
In Berlin, Parliamentary State Secretary Thorben Albrecht received Secretary Baldoz on for discussions after meeting Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles briefly.
During their meeting, Secretary Baldoz highlighted the need for sustainability measures to ensure that the Philippines can help meet Germany’s need for qualified nurses in the long term. Mr. Albrecht recognized that Germany and the Philippines shared the same aspiration in terms of meeting their respective needs.
With its aging population and the high demand for nursing care (one benefit covered by Germany’s health insurance system) and with existing nurses retiring, Germany will be needing about 200,000 nurses by 2030. The numbers will fill up not only hospitals but also nursing homes and home care.
Secretary Baldoz and State Secretary Albrecht agreed that apart from government agencies, the private sector would play an important role in implementing such sustainability measures.
The Secretary pushed for stronger cooperation in the area of healthcare human resources development (HRD), including the provision of specialized training for Filipino nurses in such areas as geriatric care.
The Embassy also organized the Secretary’s meetings with the TWP partners, including GIZ, the International Placement Services (ZAV), and Verdi, and with the representatives of the private sector, including the Federal Association of Private Social Service (BPA) and Care.com Europe. The discussions centered on the recently issued POEA guidelines for private sector participation in the recruitment of Filipino nurses for deployment to Germany.
Secretary Baldoz underscored the need to uphold the standards for fair, transparent, and ethical recruitment established through the TWP. She also stressed the importance of fully disclosing to candidate nurses the conditions of work awaiting for them abroad. “The social cost of migration is high so the government’s objective is to make all information available for prospective migrants to make an informed decision,” she said.
The Secretary and her delegation also received a briefing from Mr. Tobias Stapf of Minor e.V., a German migration research organization that has developed the Digital Integration Assistant (DINTA), an online platform to help foreign, including Filipino, nurses adjust to work and life in Germany, with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Secretary Baldoz recognized the usefulness of the tool and suggested that it be included among POEA’s online resources for Filipino nurses considering working in Germany.
As of March 2016, 234 Filipino nurses have been accepted of which 128 have been deployed under the Triple Win Program to hospitals in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Berlin, Freiburg, Munich and Tubingen. They have undergone extensive German language training and have passed initial interviews and examinations from their German hospital-employers.
The Triple Win Program has been called to imply wins from three (3) sides: the Philippines (sending country), Germany (receiving country) and the migrant (the Filipino nurse). Germany has similar programs with Eastern European countries. END