Rejected nurses’ party list group appeals to Comelec

NOT MARGINALIZED SECTOR? Members of Nurses United party list gather at the Comelec office in Manila on Monday to call on the poll body to approve their party list, which will represent nurses and health workers. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — A group representing nurses has appealed its rejection by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to participate in the party list race in the May 9, 2022 elections.

Members of the Nurses United party list gathered outside the Comelec office in Manila as they filed a motion asking the poll body’s First Division to reconsider its decision denying their party list registration.

The Nurses United party list told Comelec that the majority of its officers and members belong to the health workers sector.

Maristela Abenojar, president of both the Filipino Nurses United group and the Nurses United party list, urged the Comelec to let nurses run for representation in Congress.

She cited official data that showed out of the 28,103 health workers who contracted COVID-19, more than 10,000 are nurses.

“Many, too, have died. Sadly, since the start of the pandemic, nurses’ conditions remain the same,” Abenojar said.

She said nurses work for more than 12 hours per day and take care of 15 to 20 COVID-19 patients per shift under less than ideal working conditions such as inadequate personal protective equipment, low salaries and benefits, lack of tenure, “no work, no pay” when sick or while under quarantine and understaffing.

“Our voices must be heard in the policy-making process to uplift our social, mental, economic and physical condition,” Abenojar said.

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