‘Seniority’ requirement despite vacant posts in DOH bothers senators | Inquirer News

‘Seniority’ requirement despite vacant posts in DOH bothers senators

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 07:20 AM October 04, 2022
Maria Rosario Vergeire. STORY: ‘Seniority’ requirement despite vacant posts in DOH bothers senators

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the DOH officer in charge (File photo from the Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau)

MANILA, Philippines — Some senators are bothered about the practice of “seniority” deploying of doctors in some areas despite the large number of unfilled posts in government hospitals and healthcare facilities.

That was their reaction on Monday when Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, officer in charge of the Department of Health (DOH), made the revelation about the “seniority” practice during the Senate finance committee hearing on the proposed 2023 budget of the DOH.


Sen. Joel Villanueva raised concern over the 21,000 still unfilled positions in the DOH and in public health facilities.

“It’s the same in 2021. In 2020, it’s 20,000. Now, if you look at the job order, contract and service, I have here with me 8,188 as of 30 of June, 2022,” Villanueva said as he sought to confirm the data with the DOH.


Vergeire concurred with the data, admitting that the DOH had been facing many challenges in filling up the vacancies.

“One of the major issues that we have been challenged for some time already will be the accreditation of speciality societies, which limits the number of these specific allied health professionals or doctors who can practice in a specific locality,” Vergeire said.

A specialty society is an organization of licensed physicians that has a nationally recognized training program and a specialty board that certifies its individual members as to training and competence in the practice of their discipline, according to Code for Professional Specialization, Resolution No. 120, series 2010 in Article III Section I.

“[They are] specialized doctors. For example, some heads of laboratories would be heading some in the northern part of the country then sila rin doon sa kabila. So we tried analyzing and these were part of the reasons why there’s such a practice. So that’s why sometimes we have a scarcity. But in fact, there are many [available],” Vergeire said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.

Sen. Pia Cayetano expressed concern over the practice, saying: “If there are any doctors who will take note of this concern, we are all bothered. We are all bothered by this and we would welcome information about it.”

“We only want those who had proper training to practice — to be given the opportunity to serve, to practice their profession correctly and legally,” Cayetano said, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English. “We are bothered by that. So here is my official call: Do you have any information about some members of specialized societies of doctors who are no practicing properly?”

In response, Vergeire it would be “beneficial” if the senators could help in coordinating with specialty societies.

“We had been trying to have a strengthened relationship with our societies during this time of pandemic. But we have never discussed it with them although we tried requesting it from them. I think some help would be beneficial just so we can discuss this with them and so that we can have a rational distribution of our specialists,” Vergeire said.

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TAGS: Department of Health, DOH vacant posts, Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, Maria Rosario Vergeire, Pia Cayetano
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