Tondo Medical Center health workers press for salary, health budget increase

Published October 27, 2021, 9:46 PM

by Gabriela Baron

Health workers from Tondo Medical Center (TMC) held a “snake rally” and noise barrage protest on Wednesday, Oct. 27, to press for a salary increase and a higher health budget in 2022.

(Photo from Alliance of Health Workers)

TMC is a tertiary hospital that caters to the health needs of both in and out-patients from Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, and Bulacan.

The state hospital also handles both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients. However, TMC is one of those 76 Department of Health (DOH) hospitals that have zero budget for Capital Outlay (CO) for 2022.

Zero CO means no budget for health facilities and purchase of medical equipment such as mechanical ventilators and oxygen hi-flow machines for both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients.

“We vehemently call on the senators and the Duterte administration to prioritize the use of funds for the greater needs of the people in these trying times of pandemic, health and economic crisis,” Tondo Medical Center Employees Association-Alliance of Health Workers (TMCEA-AHW) President Ernesto Bulanadi said.

Health workers also aired disappointment over the non-release of their benefits under the Bayanihan Law 2, such as active hazard duty pay (AHDP) covering the period of January to June 2021, the 70 percent of their meal, accommodation, and transportation (MAT) benefits from September to December 2020, and the 100 percent no budget for the MAT benefits from January to June 2021.

“Secretary Duque and DOH authorities and no less than President Duterte have long promised us that we will receive the benefits under Bayanihan Law 2 which expired on June 30, 2021, but until after the deadline set by President Duterte we did not enjoy such benefits.” Bulanadi lamented.

In TMC, Bulandi said over 10 health workers have already resigned from their post due to lack of protection and being overworked and underpaid.

“The reason that many health workers leave our country to work overseas because of the extreme negligence on the part of DOH and this government in ensuring health workers’ protection, safety, health, and welfare. And who suffered the most – the patients that we served. Now more than ever, the DOH and this government must realize our important role especially now that we are the warriors in this war against COVID-19,” he added.

Aside from the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits, the health workers also demanded the immediate release of their Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for 2019 and 2020.