MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday expressed hope that fresh nursing graduates can be called upon to serve the country following threats made by healthcare workers to resign over the government’s failure to give benefits due to them.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque acknowledged the country’s need for more healthcare workers as Covid-19 infections continue to rise to over 1.57 million.
Roque, however, said he is optimistic about the “surplus” in nursing graduates produced by the country's universities every year.
“Pinagpapala naman po tayo ng Panginoon dahil (We are blessed by the Lord because) we produce surplus graduates of nursing. At inaasahan po natin na yung mga bagong graduates natin can be called upon to serve in the additional beds that we have established para nga po pagsilbihan yung mga magkaksakit ng Covid (And we hope that our new graduates can be called to serve in the additional beds we have established to cater to those infected with Covid),” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier urged the Department of Health (DOH) to prioritize the release of compensation and other benefits of healthcare workers.
"By the way, itong mga front-liners unahin mo na lang. If there's enough money, bayaran mo na (By the way, just put these front-liners first. If there's enough money, then pay them)," Duterte said during his pre-recorded Talk to the People on Monday night.
The DOH said it has "resolved" some issues and is working on others raised by the Commission on Audit (COA) on "deficiencies" in the department’s handling of the PHP67.32 billion funds for Covid-19 response.
Nursing groups earlier warned of a possible mass resignation if they failed to receive their "special risk allowance" (SRA) from the DOH.
Data from the Private Hospitals Association Philippines showed that around 40 percent of private hospital nurses have quit their jobs.
Under the Bayanihan Law, an SRA of PHP 5,000 per month must be given to private and public healthcare workers with direct exposure to Covid-19 patients. (PNA)