Health workers rally in front of House of Representatives

Health workers and members of health groups staged a rally in front of the south gate of the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Monday, Sept. 12, to demand adequate budget for direct health services in the country.

The rally was joined by members of the Head Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), and other organizations.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said the groups held their program at around 9:15 a.m. as the House Committee on Appropriations deliberated on the 2023 budget of the Department of Health (DOH).

They voiced their demands to the national government such as free health services and medicines for the people, budget increase for health, stoppage of hospital budget cuts, capital outlay and funds for all public hospitals, and the release of the Covid-19 benefits of health workers.

In August 2022, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted for deliberation the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) to the House of Representatives where the funding for some DOH programs for the year 2023 (including health regulatory, epidemiology and surveillance, health emergency management, and public health) were said to be reduced.

In a statement released on Sept. 8, the AHW said that the proposed 2023 DOH budget further privatizes public health services and is insufficient for the needs of people, and does not address the health worker’s call for protection, safety, and welfare.

The QCPD deployed around 26 personnel to ensure that Covid-19 health protocols are observed by the rallyists.

It said that the group dispersed peacefully at around 10:20 a.m.

No untoward incident happened during the rally, the police added.

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