Why blame the problem on the President immediately? Because it’s an election year. Thus it is easy to see the motivation behind PhilSTAR columnist Boo Chanco’s piece today “Show some appreciation” where he writes how, in these times of pandemic, “our health workers feel abused and unappreciated by the Duterte administration.” Chanco then issues his shoutout…
Why can’t Duterte use some of the billions he has in his discretionary funds (that incidentally require no auditing) to provide funding for the nurses if only to show some appreciation for their heroic work during this pandemic?
First there is the issue of supply and demand. Nursing used to be a thankless profession until the Western countries experienced a shortage of nurses. The nature of the Pinoy is kung nasaan ang pila, andun sila. So many took up Nursing. The schools couldn’t meet the demand so others started offering the course. Nurses need to do internship and residency. Soon the hospitals couldn’t accommodate all of them. I still have to research on the brouhaha over the Nursing Act of 2002 but Chanco’s insistence that the President can fund the salary shortfall from his intelligence fund has no basis since state-owned hospitals have line-item budgets under the Department of Health (DOH). It should be the DOH which should source the funds.
The P500 per day hazard pay is standard. That’s the same amount I received on top of my monthly contractual pay for my reporting for work everyday during the 90-day lockdown in 2020. It took all of six months for that to be processed and released. Government bureaucracy is convoluted at both the national and local level. Salaries are often delayed because the processing is still manual. Computers are only used for encoding. There is no custom software which does the processing.
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Chanco goes further to share his two-cent opinion on nurses’ pay…
Our nurses also suffer low salaries in the private hospitals. They are even made to pay “training fees” so the nurses can get the experience needed to work abroad.
Chanco should understand that there is such a thing as salary standardization in the civil service and the qualification standard. Nurses would need to have post-graduate degrees in order to be promoted to the next higher salary grade. It is also not possible to give them a higher entry level salary grade because this would distort the civil service ranking and the salary standardization. As it is, step increases are given on an annual basis on terms of compensation without promotion as part of the salary standardization process. There would also be market distortion if the compensation at government hospitals is higher than private hospitals. This already happened in the education sector. The pay of the entry-level public school teacher is higher than a private educational institution. There are more teachers who want to be employed by government but there are no permanent plantillas available.
It’s not good practice on the part of traditional media to lay the blame always at the President without bothering to present to the public all the facts about the issue.
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