Malacañang asked nurses and other health workers to not turn in their resignation letters amid the country’s fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, assuring them that their payment was already being processed.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Filipino Nurses United said that its members will quit their jobs if the government is not able to pay their benefits by September 1, 2021.
In his press briefing on Monday, August 23, Roque appealed to nurses to give the government some time to process the funds for their payment.
“‘Wag naman po sana (I hope they won’t do it),” he said.
“Nag-order naman po ang Presidente na within 10 days dapat from last Friday eh kinakailangan maibigay na itong mga special risk allowance (SRA) (The President gave an order that their SRA will be paid within 10 days from last Friday),” he added.
Roque likewise said the resignation of nurses would be another problem for the government, saying they would add to the number of jobless Filipinos amid the pandemic.
“Dadami ang hanay na walang trabaho sa panahon ng pandemya. Mas lalala po ang problema natin kung mas maraming walang trabaho (The number of Filipinos with no jobs during the pandemic will go up. Our problem will get worse if many people will be jobless),” he said.
“Wala naman po tayong karagdagang ayuda na maibibigay (We don’t have additional funds for cash aid that we can give them),” he added.
On Friday, President Duterte gave the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) 10 days to process the fund needed by the Department of Health (DOH) to compensate health care workers amid the ongoing health crisis.
“I am now ordering, it’s an order, Secretary Duque– Use whatever money there is. Bayaran mo yung hinihingi ng mga nurses (Pay what the nurses are asking)– both in government and those outside government na (who are) volunteers,” he said.
“Bayaran mo lahat yung ano nila, the reklamo nila. Kasi totoo naman, eh (Pay everything they are complaining about. It is all true, anyway),” he added.
During the arrival ceremony for the 1 million doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government on August 20, the President assured health workers that the government will strive to repay them for their sacrifices and vowed to support them.