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Philippine nurses protest virtually to demand better working conditions

Philippine nurses protest virtually to demand better working conditions

According to government data, nearly a third of hospitals have reached “critical levels” of over 85 percent occupancy, prompting the Philippine Nurses Association to stage its own protest in September, demanding better working conditions and more staff.

The protest was held despite the fact that, on August 25, the budget department informed the Senate that it had already released P311 million to pay for the special risk allowance (SRA) of over 20,000 health workers, the protest was carried out. This was in addition to the P7 billion in SRAs that the DOH said it had obligated for over 370,000 health workers from December 2020 to June 2021.

Filipino nurses stated that with 1.8 million health care workers in the country, the government’s efforts were clearly insufficient to compensate everyone. That is why many healthcare workers and professional nurses are looking for greener pastures abroad, and we can’t blame them.

Vice-president Leni Robredo, who is running for president in the next election, said that health workers cannot be blamed for resigning to pursue better opportunities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, while another presidential candidate, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, is pushing for increased funding for healthcare and medical research as part of his recovery plans.

It sounds good to the ear, but will the Filipinos buy it? We’ve heard a lot of false promises in the past during election season, and they never followed through on their promises once elected. What we need now is a candidate who is willing to take that action and not just play on the emotions of Filipino voters.

Both Bongbong and Leni are leading in the polls, but it will be for the better if either of them keeps their promises to the Filipino people. We have seen Leni as the current vice president, and her detractors have claimed that she has done nothing while in that position. Bongbong is already a veteran of local politics, but he has never been in a national position where voters can determine whether he will be a competent leader of the country.

It is entirely up to Filipinos to decide who they will vote for in the next election. Hopefully, whoever wins will become an ally of nurses and healthcare workers, ensuring that these frontliners never leave the country again and stay to help their fellow citizens.

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