Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial candidate Carl Balita on Thursday, Oct. 21, said the government should attend to the needs of Filipino health workers to prevent them from leaving the country.
This, after news reports said around five to 10 percent of nurses in private hospitals had resigned in the past two to three weeks, causing many hospitals to suffer from manpower shortage.
“Unless the government does something about the welfare of medical health frontliners as they continue to struggle to care for patients affected by the coronavirus pandemic, many who entered the profession will eventually choose to secure better-paying jobs abroad,” said Balita during a town hall meeting on Thursday, along with Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, vice presidential bet Dr. Willie Ong, and fellow senatorial candidates, in Barangay Banaba, Tarlac City.
“We cannot ignore the health care professionals, especially those in the private sectors,” he said.
Aside from health workers going abroad, some have also protested over unpaid benefits, including the COVID-19 special risk allowance (SRA).
“The Filipino nurses are the best for the Filipinos and the choice of the world,” said Balita.
Balita, who is also a registered nurse and a licensed midwife, said the world needs at least six million nurses or 17 percent of the global shortage.
“Napakalaki po ng oportunidad nila sa ibang bansa at napakaraming recruitments na nangyayari locally. Hindi natin kayang sabayan ang sweldong ibibigay sa kanila sa ibang bansa… sa Amerika, Europa, name it, our nurses especially. Pero, ano ang magpapanatili sa kanila dito sa atin? ‘Yung ating respeto sa kanilang mga pangangailangan (They have a lot of opportunities abroad and a lot of recruitments are happening locally. We can’t keep up with the salary that will be given to them in other countries… in America, Europe, name it, our nurses especially. But, what will keep them here with us? ‘Our respect for their needs),” Balita pointed out.
He added that the meal, accommodation, and transportation allowance (MAT) should also be given to health workers.
“Can’t we be more generous to these front liners performing heroic jobs everyday?” Balita asked.
He also reminded the government to act immediately before the country runs out of medical professionals.
“There should also be long term solutions for this, even legislative, because there has to be concrete action to prevent further crisis, not only in nursing, but in other professions as well,” he said.