1000’s of Filipino well being staff, significantly nurses, depart for jobs abroad yearly to hunt the proverbial greener pastures. Right here at house, the so-called heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic endure low wages, poor working situations, and delays of their allowances—the explanation why a lot of them select to go away their households and nation.
To cease this mind drain, the three-member Makabayan bloc filed Home Invoice No. 6132 or the Magna Carta of Personal Well being Staff final Nov. 15 to encourage well being care staff (HCWs) within the personal sector to remain and serve within the Philippines by offering for his or her rights, welfare, and advantages. Personal HCWs will not be coated by Republic Act No. 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Well being Staff—a 30-year-old regulation that additionally must be revisited.
HB 6132 needs to “cut back, if not get rid of the disparities between the well being staff in the private and non-private sector underneath the precept of equality and non-discrimination.” Among the many disparities it seeks to handle are advantages like hazard pay, subsistence allowance, laundry allowance, safety of tenure, and longevity pay. It additionally prescribes a most of eight hours of labor a day, or 40 hours per week, however paid seven days per week or a complete of 56 hours per week, in addition to compensation for extra time work.
The invoice additionally proposes a P50,000 entry stage wage for nurses, whereas that for different HCWs is about at P1,100 per day. Filipino nurses, in accordance with the Philippine Nurses Affiliation, are among the many lowest paid with a month-to-month wage of $687 (about P40,000), in contrast with their friends in different Southeast Asian international locations. A 2020 examine by iPrice Group confirmed that nurses in Vietnam are paid $1,083 and people in Singapore get $4,058 month-to-month.
However the paper, “When the ‘heroes’ ‘do not feel cared for’: The migration and resignation of Philippine nurses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” revealed final Could within the Nationwide Library of Drugs web site pegged the entry-level wage for a nurse in personal hospitals at as little as $160 or P9,000, not even sufficient to cowl their value of dwelling particularly on this period of inflationary costs. The paper additional famous that in October final 12 months, 5 to 10 p.c of nurses working in personal hospitals have resigned—some selecting to go away their career or depart the nation for many who have been fortunate to make the quota. This migration of medical professionals has continued because the COVID-19 state of affairs began to plateau.
Well being reform advocate Dr. Tony Leachon warned in a tweet final Oct. 23: “Our greatest well being care drawback will not be the pandemic … however the steady migration of our well being care staff, significantly the nurses. This could have an effect on our [Universal Health Care] plans and supply of environment friendly companies to our sufferers.”
Earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, about 17,000 nurses would go away for overseas yearly. In November 2020, the federal government imposed a 5,000 cap to make sure that the nation is not going to run out of HCWs at such a important time. The federal government later raised the cap to 7,500—a transfer that was opposed by nurses’ teams and labor unions as unconstitutional and inhumane, particularly amid complaints of poor working situations and delayed allowances, whereas different international locations had higher job presents. Final September, because the Division of Well being (DOH) reported a nursing shortfall of greater than 100,000, President Marcos Jr. mulled growing the present cap however stated that the federal government wanted to enhance native alternatives.
On the top of the pandemic, HCWs complained of burnout, an ironic state of affairs for frontliners who have been caring for the sick however weren’t getting the suitable care and a spotlight from the federal government. Even till at present, HCWs are nonetheless ready for his or her unpaid COVID-19 advantages protecting the intervals July-December 2021, and July 2022 to the current. The DOH has requested for a further P27 billion to pay over 2.1 million eligible private and non-private HCWs. However the Division of Price range and Administration has requested for documentation from the DOH, together with certification of the claims and the checklist of eligible HCWs.
The federal government ought to start the President’s directive of bettering native alternatives by paying out what the state owes HCWs—the truth that the allowances due them have been delayed for over a 12 months is inconscionable once they have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, risking their and their households’ lives to honor their oath. They don’t even need to beg for allowances that they’ve been promised and for companies they’ve already rendered, and the federal government should be certain that their welfare is taken care of even after the pandemic.
Other than passing a brand new regulation to guard the rights of personal well being staff, policymakers should additionally revisit RA 7305 and make it possible for its provisions stay related and conscious of the instances. HCWs are the spine of the well being system—and it’ll collapse if their work will not be valued, their rights not protected, and their points not addressed. Allow us to maintain our well being care staff.
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