Village health workers being sacked ‘without due process’ | Inquirer News

Village health workers being sacked ‘without due process’

/ 05:36 AM December 02, 2023

Bill seeks nonviolent ways to discipline kids health workers sacked

Image: Courtesy of the office of Rep. Angelica Natasha Co.

At least 80,000 barangay health workers were reportedly dismissed by newly elected barangay officials “without due process,” in a move that “severely undermined” the delivery of primary health care in communities.

Barangay Health Wellness Rep. Angelica Natasha Co said Friday that her office had brought to the attention of Health Secretary Ted Herbosa the reports that many barangay health workers “in various parts of the country were dismissed, many merely verbally” in the aftermath of the barangay and youth polls on Oct. 30.


“BHW party list will evaluate its legal options, including possible administrative and criminal proceedings. Also among our options is possibly seeking the legal opinion of the Department of Justice on the issue,” said the chair of the House committee on the welfare of children.


‘Unjust removal’

“The dismissal of over 80,000 barangay health workers has severely undermined the delivery of primary health care in thousands of barangays,” Co said.

The dismissal, she added, was “without due process and completely disregarded the joint memorandum circular (JMC) between the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), seeking to preserve and ensure the continued role of the BHWs in primary health-care delivery.”

She was referring to DOH-DILG JMC 2023-01 which seeks to protect barangay health workers against “politically motivated and unjust removal” from their posts by barangay chairpersons.

Co previously said the JMC clearly states that the barangay chairperson “does not have absolute power over the job security of barangay health workers,” who are already registered with the DOH and local government units.

She said she had “verbally expressed” her concerns to Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos and that she was hopeful he would “accord the barangay health workers due process and compassion.”

The dismissal, she added, “would lay to waste the hundreds of millions of pesos in public funds invested in the specialized training that the dismissed barangay health workers (have) received over the years so they could capably serve their neighbors.” This also means that the government would have to spend anew on training new health workers on primary health care, Co said.


Earlier warning

Data from Co’s office showed that in the case of the Calabarzon region alone, about 5,000 barangay health workers were dismissed after the local polls. As of Friday, the party list group was still collating reports on the dismissal of barangay health workers all over the country.

Latest data available from Co’s office show there are 270,407 barangay health workers in service across the country this year.

Western Visayas has the highest number with 28,526, followed by the Ilocos region with 24,656. This puts the 80,000 dismissed workers at 29 percent of the country’s total barangay health workers.

On Oct. 20, Co warned the workers to be on the lookout for candidates in the barangay and youth polls who would make threats against them and their job security.

This was after she received reports of barangay chairpersons threatening to replace the workers after the elections with others who are allied with the winning local officials.

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READ: Time to recognize barangay health workers for their service – Tulfo

TAGS: Barangay, fired, health workers, Village

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