By Basti M. Vertudez


Following appeals for its termination, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has finally put an end to the decade-long moratorium that prohibited college schools in the country from launching new Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nursing programs since its implementation in 2011.

In a press conference held on Wednesday, CHED has publicized its decision to remove the ban on opening some nursing undergraduate courses which aims to ease the lack of medical workers in the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Yesterday, the commission en banc, after a very thorough review and study of the moratorium on nursing, decided to lift the moratorium on nursing based on an exhaustive discussion,” CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera III announced.

As of writing, the country only has 90,205 working nurses which are only approximately 30% of the 300,470 healthcare workers that is recommended in line with the Philippine population, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requirements.

“If you look at the total nurses in the Philippines and the current nurse-to-population ratio, you will notice that there is really a big gap in the supply side,” the CHED chairperson stated, addressing the issue of the shrinking number of nurses.

One of the reasons behind the said shortage in healthcare workers amid the pandemic is that more Filipino nurses are trying to secure their profession by working abroad.

With this development, higher education institutions (HEIs) are now permitted starting July 14 to comply with requirements from CHED should they plan to offer new programs for nursing.

Among the regions in the Philippines, CHED noted that the following who urgently need to have such nursing programs are Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and Soccsksargen.

“They can apply starting tomorrow for the schools since we’re officially lifting [the moratorium] today, so they can start applying if they have all the necessary requirements,” De Vera affirmed.

 The moratorium was imposed 11 years ago due to the oversupply of graduates in the country, which resulted in the unemployment of over 200,000 nurses.

Edited by Juliana Christine Mondoyo