Vergeire: ‘We cannot prevent our healthcare workers from leaving’
MANILA, Philippines — With Filipino healthcare workers leaving the country for better opportunities abroad, Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that they are within their rights to do so, and that the government cannot stop them.
When asked during a media forum on Tuesday about foreign countries offering better opportunities for healthcare workers, Vergeire said that this has been going on for a long time.
“Hindi naman natin, unang-una, mapipigilan ito. We cannot prevent our healthcare workers from leaving, because that is their right also, to find more productive—at tsaka mas mataas na sweldo para sa kanila,” said Vergeire.
(We cannot, first of all, stop this. We cannot prevent our healthcare workers from leaving because that is their right also, to find more productive—and higher wages for others).
In the wake of resignations, the COVID-19 pandemic, and international migration, she said the DOH and the government are working on addressing the shortage of healthcare workers.
“Lahat ay ginagawa natin ngayon so we can further incentivize and we can further encourage our healthcare workers to stay here in the country, and serve the country,” said the DOH head.
(We are doing everything to incentivize further and encourage our healthcare workers to stay here and serve the country).
Among the solutions that Vergeire listed was a bill “proposing to standardize the salaries between private and public healthcare workers.”
It wasn’t specifically mentioned, but House Bill No. 4599 ( Salary Increase for Nurses Act ) sets a minimum wage for nurses starting in September 2022, and Vergreire said scholarships are in the works.