Villanueva urges gov’t to extend contracts of healthcare professionals it hired

Published May 2, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Vanne Terrazola

Senator Joel Villanueva has proposed to the national government the extension of the contracts of service healthcare professionals it temporarily hired to sustain the country’s fight against the COVID-19.

Senator Joel Villanueva (Senator Joel Villanueva Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Joel Villanueva (Senator Joel Villanueva Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Villanueva cited projections by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) that the novel coronavirus pandemic could reach its peak anytime from July 2020 to July 2021, depending on the interventions and choices made by the government in the implementation of quarantine.

“We have to prepare for the worst by hiring more health workers and extending the duration of their contracts from anywhere between five to ten months,” the lawmaker said in his comments and recommendations to President Duterte’s April 27 report on the rollout of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

“This will allow our government to continue treating infected citizens without worrying about the bureaucratic gridlock on the renewal of the contracts of these health workers,” he added.

Duterte reported to Congress last Monday that the Department of Health’s request for an additional 15,757 healthcare professionals to help other COVID-19 frontliners has been approved by the Department of Budget and Management.

The health workers would be hired under a contract of service for a period of three months. A budget of P2.7 billion was allotted for them, the President said.

As of April 22, 693 nurses and 111 medical residency graduates were deployed to DOH and local hospitals handling COVID-19 cases.

Hospitals have appealed for additional medical staff to attend to COVID-19 patients after health workers have also fallen ill due to the novel coronavirus, or were placed under quarantine for possible infections.

According to the DOH, one out of every five confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is a healthcare worker.

As of Thursday (April 30), 1,694 healthcare workers have tested positive for the disease.

On Saturday (May 2), the DOH announced that the number of total confirmed cases of COVID-19 went up to 8,928, with deaths reaching 603.