DOH chief assures nurses of faster benefits payout | Inquirer News

DOH chief assures nurses of faster benefits payout

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:25 AM June 14, 2023

Nurses at work inside a COVID ward during the pandemic in this 2021 file photo. STORY: DOH chief assures nurses of faster benefits payout

OVERWORKED BUT UNDERPAID | Nurses at work inside a COVID ward during the pandemic in this 2021 file photo. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa on Tuesday said the Department of Health (DOH) was committed to hurrying the release of the delayed COVID-19 benefits for healthcare workers, especially nurses.

The new health chief’s assurance came after Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. urged him to settle the supposedly unpaid P12.57 billion in health emergency allowances for front-line medical workers.


But Herbosa said “most of the benefits” had already been released, with 90 percent of qualified health workers getting their COVID-19 benefits and allowances.


“Those who did not receive had some technical issues with the hospital administration or directors and I was told it was mostly private hospitals,” he told reporters at a Palace briefing.


He pointed out that private hospitals did not have the same processes as public healthcare facilities, adding that all benefits for government workers had already been given to them.

Herbosa cited deficiencies in documentary requirements as among the causes of the delay, while assuring health workers that “as long the documentation is there, they should be paid.”

“I will get on top of this [situation] because I feel the nurses are our real priority,” he said, adding: “And I’m going to tell this on national TV—I really love the nurses because they are our healthcare system.”

“[I] don’t want them to leave the Philippines because we need them for the programs that the Department of Health will deliver,” Herbosa said.

‘Best in the world’

Last week, Herbosa said the government must pay healthcare workers, particularly nurses, “correctly” to make them stay in the country.


During Tuesday’s briefing, he said that “if I want good health services, I will need all the nurses I get.”

“And that’s why they are pirating our nurses. What does that mean? Our nurses are the best in the world,” he added.

Herbosa pointed out that in the DOH alone, 4,500 vacant plantilla or budget-approved items were available, and many vacant positions for healthcare workers in local government units remained unfilled because of a lack of applicants.

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There are 617,000 licensed nurses in the country. About 316,000, or over half of them, have already migrated, while 21 percent are working in areas other than health care, according to the DOH.


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TAGS: Department of Health, health workers' benefits, nurses, Teodoro Herbosa

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