DOH pushes for salary standards, better benefits to keep health workers at home

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DOH pushes for salary standards, better benefits to keep health workers at home
Health workers from the government-run Philippine General Hospital hold placards as they ask the government to release their risk allowances amid rising Covid-19 coronavirus infections, in Manila on August 26, 2021.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Tuesday said it is working to standardize the salaries and improve the benefits of healthcare workers to encourage medical professionals to stay in the Philippines.

For decades, health workers—who are often underpaid and unappreciated locally—have been leaving the country for better pay and working conditions abroad.

Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government “cannot prevent our healthcare workers from leaving because that’s their right to find more productive and bigger pay.”

To try to keep medical workers at home, the DOH proposed the standardization of the salaries of healthcare workers in public and private facilities.

Healthcare workers in private hospitals reportedly get paid around P12,000 a month, while those employed in government-run institutions are entitled to Salary Grade 15 or just over P35,000. Pay is generally much lower in areas outside Metro Manila.

Groups such as Filipino Nurses United are calling for an entry salary of P50,000 a month

Vergeire also said the agency is studying "how we can further improve the benefits of our healthcare workers" and working on providing scholarships.

"These are what we’re doing so that we can further incentivize and encourage our healthcare workers to stay here and serve the country," the health official said.

Vilma Garcia, president of De La Salle University Medical Center employees’ union, is quoted by The STAR newspaper that the United Kingdom and Germany are actively offering "attractive packages" to Filipino nursing students. She raised concern that the recruitment of nursing students will affect the healthcare system in the Philippines.

German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel has denied that the European country is "pirating"—or luring workers away from their current jobs—Filipino nursing students. She noted that Germany is working with the Philippines in recruiting health workers.

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