Organized workers in the healthcare sector on Friday called on voters to choose pro-labor candidates even as they clamor for for higher pay and better working conditions which they claimed were not addressed by the outgoing Duterte administration.
The Alliance of Healthcare Workers (AHW) challenged the country’s future leaders to ease the plight they had to endure over the years.
The AHW sought an entry pay of P25,000 for salary grade one even if research group IBON said that the inflation rate has increased the family living wage to P32,000 for a family with five members.
During a picket staged at the UP-Philippine General Hospital, the group expressed rage over the alleged neglect they continued to feel under the Duterte administration.
Cristy Domguines, a health worker at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, said at the height of the pandemic, she had to do 16 to 24-hour shifts which she claimed inevitably impacted the quality of care that should be given to the patients.
“Ang panawagan namin, dagdag, sapat at sana pa nga po di lang sapat kundi sobra-sobrang manggagawang pang kalusugan para hindi magiging exhausted, overworked at underpaid ang manggagawang pangkalusugan (We’re calling for additional medical workers so that our colleagues don’t get exhausted, overworked, and underpaid.),” she said.
The AHW said improving the economic conditions of health workers would not only benefit them and their families but more importantly pave the way for a comprehensive healthcare system.
Robert Mendoza, AHW national president, lamented the dismal pay for health workers.
“Meron silang sinasabi na salary standardization law pero hindi ito sapat. Napakababa at binabarat talaga. Sa ngayon ang health workers na salary grade one ay nasa P12,500 lang. Hindi siya nakakabuhay sa usapin ng sahod (They cite the salary standardization law but it’s not enough. Currently, health workers with a salary grade 1 earn P12,500, it’s not enough to make a living.),” he said.
“Dumaan na yung two years na pandemiya, pero hanggang sa kasalukuyan hindi pa rin nararamdaman yung pangangalaga, pagkalinga ng ating mga opisyales ng gobyerno doon sa usapin ng benepisyo, safety and protection ng mga health workers (Two years of the pandemic have passed but until now health workers have yet to experience being taken care of by government officials in terms of benefits, safety and protection.),” he said.
AHW called on the public to choose leaders who are “pro-employees and pro-people” and have concrete plans to uplift the lives not only of healthcare workers but the public in general.
“Sa susunod na administrasyon, nanawagan kami na bigyan ng solusyon ang understaffing, underpaid and overworked na mga mangagagawang pangkalusugan. Pumili tayo ng magiging susunod na pinuno ng bansa na may puso para sa mamamayan (We’re calling on the next administration to resolve understaffed, underpaid and overworked medical workers. Let’s choose a leader who has a heart for the people.),” Domguines said.