Solon demands fair wage for frontliners
He said that medical professionals, even if inexperienced, do not deserve the measly P500 a day, below-the-minimum wage rate previously offered to COVID-19 medical frontliners and should be compensated based on the pay grade of their regular counterparts.
STAR/Edd Gumban, file
Solon demands fair wage for frontliners
Fred P. Languido (The Freeman) - July 2, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Before authorizing the deployment of fresh medical graduates in Cebu City to assist in the government’s fight against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health should make sure that it has the funds to properly compensate them and the equipment to fully protect them, Representative Ronnie Ong of the Ang Probinsyano Party-list said.

Ong said that although these medical graduates are considered as greenhorns in their respective fields, they do not deserve to be treated like one when they become part of the elite army of medical frontliners who are putting their lives on the line to help fight the pandemic.

He said that medical professionals, even if inexperienced, do not deserve the measly P500 a day, below-the-minimum wage rate previously offered to COVID-19 medical frontliners and should be compensated based on the pay grade of their regular counterparts.

“These are extraordinary times and we should treat these extraordinary people with all the financial support and all the protection that they truly deserve. Huwag naman po natin silang baratin at ituring na second-class citizens dahil hindi pa sila nakakapasa sa board,” Ong said.

Ong said the DOH should stop penny-pinching when it comes to the well-being and the welfare of the medical frontliners especially now that there is obviously a shortage of people who are willing to put their lives on the line without any proportionate compensation.

In fact, some of the medical frontliners in Cebu are already planning to quit out of fear for their lives and their family.

Ong added that the DOH should also make sure that they have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for these new nurses, medical technologists, and hospital support technicians who would volunteer as medical frontliners.

 "They are putting their safety, health and lives on the line. The least we can do is properly compensate them for the heroic act they are doing. After all, these health workers have families to support too. And let's be rational here, no one wants to put their life on the line for a meager income that cannot put food on the table. Let us stop romanticizing the sacrifices of our health workers and properly support them and recognize their hard work. They are our COVID19 heroes after all," Ong said.

“The government must learn from its past mistakes in treating our medical workers. The DOH should make sure that not one of these new recruits would fall ill because of they had no PPEs. One case of a new recruit getting exposed to the virus would definitely destroy the entire recruitment program of the DOH,” he added.

Ong noted that the DOH’s reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of the hundreds of doctors, nurses, medical technologists and other hospital support personnel caused their untimely and unnecessary demise.

Since the COVID outbreak until May, the DOH reported that over 2,000 health workers—mostly nurses and physicians—have been infected. The death toll among health workers is at 35.

Apart from PPEs, the DOH should also make sure that these new recruits will undergo regular swab tests and they are housed in comfortable quarantine facilities.

 “They are our heroes and they are not just ordinary sweatshop workers. We should give them all the protection and the support that they need so they can continue helping us in defeating this Covid virus,” Ong said.  (FREEMAN)

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