DOH supports proposed measure of 1-year mandatory service for new doctors

The Department of Health (DOH) expressed its support to the proposed bill that aims  to mandate new doctors to work in the country for one year before they could seek employment abroad.

The proposed measure, House Bill No. 6232 or the Mandatory Medical Service Bill, seeks to address the shortage of physicians in government hospitals and local health facilities.

“That is part of what is being discussed right now and we agree to this return service agreement,” said DOH Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire during a press briefing on Tuesday, May 2.

However, Vergeire said that proper guidelines should be crafted to ensure that the rights of new doctors will not be violated.

“Kailangan may mga mekanismo tayo kasi syempre may mga karapatan din naman ang ating mga healthcare workers to seek greener pasture, kung anong career na path na gusto nila (We need to have mechanisms because of course, our healthcare workers also have the right to seek greener pasture, to choose the career path they want),” she said.

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) is not in favor of this proposed measure, saying that this will not solve the problem of medical worker migration.

“Ang reaksyon natin dito, anti-health worker po ito—na pagkakaroon ng one year mandatory service (Our reaction to this is that this is anti-health worker—having this one-year mandatory service),” said AHW National President Robert Mendoza during a radio interview on Thursday, May 4.

Addressing the “root causes” of this problem will help stop the health workers from leaving the country, said Mendoza. These root causes include low salary, contractualization, delayed benefits, and poor working conditions.

“Ito yung mga root causes ng bakit umaalis ang ating mga health workers sa ating bansa para magkaroon ng greener pasture (These are the root causes why the health workers are leaving the country and seeking to find greener pasture),” he said.