Better working conditions will help convince Filipino doctors to stay

E CARTOON MAY 26, 2023.jpg

A bill mandating new Filipino doctors to work in the country for one year before they are allowed to seek employment abroad has been filed before the House of Representatives.

House Bill No. 6232, the Mandatory Medical Service Bill, was recently filed in a bid to address the shortage of medical doctors, particularly in rural areas.

The bill’s explanatory note states that requiring all passers of physician’s licensure examination to render one-year medical service will promote the integration of doctors into the public health and medical service system to ensure their availability in providing quality health services to the least privileged individuals.

“With the one-year medical service, newly passed physicians will immediately be employed as they will receive appropriate ranks, salaries and benefits. The one-year medical service is really a win-win solution that will benefit the government, the physicians and the Filipino people.”

The bill has been getting the flak for the mandatory nature of the one-year medical service it proposes. But Malasakit and Bayanihan Party-list Rep. Anthony Rolando Golez Jr., the main proponent of the measure, justifies this by saying in media interviews that the “para sa bayan” spirit among medical practitioners is getting lost and a law is necessary to address this concern.

Rather than forcing Filipino doctors to work in the country, lawmakers should instead craft a measure that provides better opportunities, competitive salary scales, and better working conditions to give these medical practitioners enough reason to stay.

Given the right working conditions, Filipino doctors or any Filipino for that matter, would rather stay in the country to be with their families. We, Filipinos, put a premium on the value of family ties.

However, when the welfare of the family is at stake, Filipinos will do everything—even to the extent of being away in a foreign land—just to give his or her family a better way of life.

By mandating them to stay, the government will be depriving them and their families of better opportunities which they can’t find at home should the bill get enacted.

As Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. puts it, the government should focus on crafting policies that would make health workers choose to stay and work in the country instead of restricting them from leaving.
“Let us give them more reasons to stay in our country instead of restricting them to leave,” Revilla said.

If the government is determined to convince Filipino doctors, and any other Pinoy worker for that matter, to stay and serve the country, it should provide better working conditions to enable them to give their respective families a better quality of life.

Most often, it is the family’s welfare that forces Filipino workers to seek employment abroad even if it means being away from home.