President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. admitted that the benefits given to Filipino nurses are not enough but said the government could not do much because of the lack of funds.
Marcos said this as he graced the 100th Anniversary of the Philippine Nurses Association at the Manila Hotel on Thursday, September 1.
In his speech, the President said that as of August 19, the government had disbursed a total of P25.82 billion worth of benefits for the country's healthcare workers, particularly the nurses. These include:
- Hazard duty pay
- Covid-19 sickness and death compensation
- Meals, accommodation, and transportation allowances
- Life insurance
- Special Risk Allowance
- One Covid-19 Allowance
However, Marcos admits this may not be enough, but the government's hands were tied.
"Sa palagay ko kulang pa 'yan eh (I think that's not enough)," he said, earning the cheers and applause of the audience.
"Medyo hirap tayo sa pondo ngayon kaya’t sa ngayon ganyan lang muna. Walang — mahirap lagyan ng balor, ng dolyar, ng piso ‘yung trabahong ginagawa ninyo (We don't have enough funds now so that's all we can give. Tere's no amount that match the work you do)," he added.
Meanwhile, President Marcos said there was a need to address the uneven distribution of nurses in different areas around the country. He asked for the health workers' cooperation to resolve this.
"In order to do that, we have to address issues related to health facilities, benefits, and security of tenure," he said.
"As we work hard to improve the state of our healthcare system at home, let us join hands to maintain our country's position as the gold standard when it comes to providing healthcare workers to hospitals and health facilities globally," he added.
According to Marcos, the government will open more slots for deploying nurses abroad while striving to improve opportunities domestically.
"With the PNA, boasting a 40,000-strong membership, I believe that together we have the ability, we have the strength to improve our nurses' welfare and build on the Filipino distinction of excellence and competitiveness in the global health community," he said.