Specialty hospital health workers demand wage hike, overdue allowances
MANILA, Philippines— Health workers from the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) and National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) staged a protest action on Friday in front of the PHC building to demand a salary increase and their long overdue allowances dating back to 2021.
The specialty hospital workers called for a P33,000 entry level salary for all public and private health workers in the country.
They also raised that their health emergency allowances from December 2021-June 2023 remain unpaid, including performance-based bonuses from 2021-2022.
“Our demand to the Marcos Jr. administration for a significant salary increase is timely and reasonable. The prices of basic commodities continue to rise while the value and purchasing capacity of the peso continues to decline. These result in a continuous decline in the standard of living of health workers and ordinary citizens,” said Salome Ejes, president of the PHC Employees Association-Alliance of Health Workers.
“Moreso, while there are 21,038 vacant plantilla positions in the DOH, many from our ranks are hired as contractual or with no permanent positions. With government’s turning a deaf ear to our just demands for higher wages and job security pushes our ranks to look for greener pastures in countries that offer high wages and benefits for health workers,” added Edwin Pacheco, president of the NKTI Employees Association-Alliance of Health Workers.
The protesters also slammed Congress’ sudden passage of the contentious Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), arguing that the nation’s wealth would be better utilized in salary increases for hospital workers.
“May pera at pondo ang gobyerno sa MIF, pero pagdating sa pagtaas sahod at welfare naming mga health worker, laging wala,” Ejes added.
(The government has money and funds for the MIF, but when it comes to raising salaries and welfare for medical workers, they always claim to have none.)
As President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation address nears, the health workers raised that they have not forgotten his promises to prioritize the country’s health sector.
“As we vow to sincerely and wholeheartedly continue serving our patients, we call on our fellow health workers to unite as we tirelessly and determined to demand for living wage, ensure job security, enforce mass hiring, release promptly owed benefits, and protect our rights and welfare,” said Bonifaco Carmona, Jr., Alliance of Health Workers national officer.