Filipino nurses are “demoralized” as they have yet to receive the “correct compensation” for their work in the frontlines of COVID-19, a group said on International Nurses Day, Wednesday.
Filipino nurses in public hospitals have yet to receive a starting wage of Salary Grade 15 or P32,000 a month while nurses in private hospitals earn the minimum, said Maristela Abenojar, president of Filipino Nurses United.
The release of the health workers’ special risk allowance (SRS) and active hazard pay have also been delayed, Abenojar said.
“Besides being tired, nurses are demoralized. That’s why some think about resigning and finding another job, because they don’t feel they are important to the government, that they are being given enough assistance and support,” she told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
Nurses lead the most number of health workers hit with COVID-19 at 6,000 out of 17,000 medical frontliners in the Philippines, Abenojar said.
“They’re slow to hand out compensation. Some who have contracted COVID for 2 or 3 times have yet to receive the compensation they’re entitled to when they first contracted it.),” she said.
The government will hire over 4,000 overseas nurses who have returned to the country to augment the current health workforce in the country, according to former Labor Secretary and now Department of Labor and Employment consultant Marianito Roque.
Roque said they have learned that more than 4,000 nurses were repatriated since the start of the pandemic last year, saying that most of the nurses have come from the Middle East.
“Of the 200 returning nurses based in the National Capital Region (NCR) we found out…there are 70 who are willing to work here locally, temporarily,” he said.
He said DOLE gathered the figures through its OFW Assistance Information System or OASIS.
The United Nations has honored three Filipino UN staff members who lost their lives while in the line of duty amid the pandemic.
In a statement dated May 11, the Department of Foreign Affairs named the three as Joanna Abaya, who served at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Dr. Ronald Santos, at the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI); and Maria Luisa Almirol Castillo, at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
During a memorial service held virtually at the UN Headquarters in New York on May 6, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at least 336 UN personnel from 82 countries, including civilian, military and police, paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace or coronavirus disease 2019 related circumstances in 2020, the highest number of UN personnel fatalities recorded in UN history.
The Philippine National Police has apprehended 566,177 individuals from March 1 to May 7 for violating minimum public health standards amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.
Based on the latest data released by the PNP on Wednesday, 219,778 were apprehended for not wearing face shields – 185,010 of them were given a warning, 28,559 were fined, and 6,209 were charged.
Meanwhile, 226,904 were accosted for not wearing face masks – 127,060 of them were warned, 81,354 were fined, and 18,490 charged.
A total of 3,496 individuals were flagged for mass gathering – 2,496 of them were reprimanded, 720 were fined, and 280 were charged.
PNP Chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, has ordered police officers to provide free face masks to persons who could not afford to buy one.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it was only fair that poor Filipinos who could not afford face masks deserve a chance to obey the rules first before they get arrested.
Lacson said before implementing the arrest order issued against Filipinos not wearing masks, “it is but fair and just for the government to provide to those who don’t have the money to buy them,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account.
He pointed out not all Filipinos could afford to buy face masks because they were busy making ends meet as they continue to feel the effects of the pandemic.