Nurses still waiting for Herbosa’s promised benefits
MANILA, Philippines — “We are still waiting for positive and concrete actions.”
This was the response of the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) to promises made by Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa last week, among them, making the swift release of COVID-19 benefits for nurses a priority under his leadership.
While the FNU welcomed the pronouncements of Herbosa for the benefit of nurses, the group dismissed it as mere “echo” of past statements made by former Department of Health (DOH) officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire. “As cliche goes… [it’s] easier said than done because we are still waiting for substantial changes,” it said in a statement on Friday. “Our request for an audience was left hanging.”
“We hope to be heard in the real sense as he says,” the labor association of nurses added.
Some P12.57 billion in health emergency allowances for front-line medical workers reportedly have yet to be distributed.
FNU was also concerned over the “arbitrary nonrenewal of contract” among nurses hired as contractual workers in government hospitals. It noted that these nurses rendered years of service, but were terminated once their contracts expired.Inquirer sought Herbosa’s comment, but has yet to get a response at press time.
Herbosa had said he would consider tapping unlicensed nursing graduates to fill around 4,800 vacancies in government hospitals. But FNU secretary general Jocelyn Andamo expressed opposition to this, saying the new DOH chief should first hire licensed nurses who are unemployed due to unfavorable working conditions and those working in non-nursing jobs.
FNU has been seeking to raise the nurses’ entry salary to P50,000 per month.