Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Friday, October 28 pushed for the passage of the measure seeking the establishment of a medical reserve corps in the Philippines as he stresses the importance of having medical reserves who would respond to a range of local and national emergencies, disasters and health crisis in the country.
“Kaakibat ng paghahanda natin sa ‘The Big One’ na maaaring mag-iwan ng malaking pinsala sa iba’t ibang lugar sa ating bansa ay ang paglalatag ng mga contingency measures na tutugon sa medical at health emergencies sa mga ganitong sitwasyon, maging sa iba pang kalamidad (Along with our preparation for 'The Big One' that can leave great damage in different areas of our country is the laying of contingency measures that will respond to medical and health emergencies in such situations, even in others disaster),” Estrada said in filing Senate Bill No. 1017 or the proposed Medical Reserve Corps Act.
Estrada said the unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to create a pool of medicla reserve due to the diverse and shifting needs of communities including those in the healthcare sector.
Under the proposed bill, members of the MRC who render service shall be compensated and accorded protection as provided by existing labor laws and standards.
They would also be entitled to allowances, medical care, hospitalization, other privileges, including benefits during the period of mobilization.
Under the bill, members of the MRC shall also continue to receive their salaries, allowances, and other privileges and benefits from their regular employment during their mobilization period.
The senator said no MRC member shall be held liable for the death or injury of any person, loss of, or damage to property of any person. Recruits will also be given compensation for their attendance in compulsory basic training on disaster and health emergency response.
Under the bill, licensed physicians who have already retired or are no longer practicing in the hospital setting and other licensed allied health professionals can be part of the MRC.
On the other hand, medical students who have completed four years of the medical course, graduates of medicine, and registered nurses may also render service pursuant to RA 2382, otherwise known as the Medical Act of 1959.
Also under the bill, the Department of Health (DOH) shall have supervision and control of the MRC.
The President, upon the recommendation of the DOH, may order the nationwide mobilization of the MRC to complement the AFP Medical Corps in case of a declaration of a state of war, state of lawless violence or state of calamity.
They may be mobilized partially or in full as necessary by the DOH, Estrada said.