Health workers give Marcos a ‘failed’ rating for first year in office
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) gave President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday a “failed” rating for his first year in office as they expressed their dismay over his “Health for All” thrust, describing it as an “empty rhetoric” and mere “hollow promises.”
“In his first Sona (State of the Nation Address), President Marcos Jr. vowed to exert all efforts to improve the welfare of our health workers but in reality, he did not take any steps to fulfill his promise,” Robert Mendoza, the AHW national president, said after the chief executive’s second State of the Nation Address (Sona) .
“In his one year in term, the health workers’ situation further placed to more misery: wages are low, and tax is high, benefits and allowances are unimplemented, public hospitals suffer a chronic understaffing while contractualization among our ranks are increasing,” he added.
The group also denounced the passage of the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) and Marcos’ move to lift the COVID-19 state of public health emergency nationwide last July 21.
“The government has money for the Maharlika Investment Fund, but when it comes to salary increases and the welfare of our health workers it always has nothing. MIF will only benefit profiteers and corrupt government officials and not the health workers and the Filipino people,” AHW said, partially in Filipino.
“Lifting the state of health emergency in the country, with no concrete, comprehensive and scientific plan in curbing the virulent disease is an abandonment of the DOH and Marcos Jr administration to health workers’ safety, protection and welfare and people’s right to health,” it added.
Among the promises Marcos made but has not yet fulfilled include:
- increasing the entry salary of public and private health workers to P33,000
- releasing delayed and unpaid health emergency allowance from 2021 to 2023 and performance-based bonuses from 2021 to 2022
- mass hiring of regular health workers
“Health workers vow to fight for their constitutional rights to security of tenure, better working conditions, a living wage, equitable benefits, collective bargaining and negotiations, and the right to petition the government to redress grievances,” the AHW said.
“Lastly, we will not allow this government to abandon its primordial duty to ensure health workers’ and people’s safety and well-being.”