tarp pic P30k repeal CPD law

October 2016 Philippine Nurses’ Week

On October 2016 Philippine Nurses’ Week: Filipino nurses continue fight for a health system that cares for nurses: Working for change, envisioning healthier people!

On the occasion of October 2016 Philippine Nurses Week, the Filipino Nurses United (FNU), a rights based, mass organization of nurses, held a unity action in front of the Philippine General Hospital, with some 100 nurse-members, in white uniform, lined up along Taft Avenue giving a symbolic high level of recognition and deepest gratitude to all hard-working Filipino nurses while expressing dismay over government’s seeming apathy and neglect for our general well-being.

“We, Filipino nurses deserve rightful recognition for our invaluable contribution to the care of our people and the rest of the world. The nurses comprise the largest number of health workers and serve as front liners in the health care delivery both in public and private sector, yet, we are not adequately taken cared of and are made to suffer under dismal work conditions.” Ms. Eleanor M. Nolasco, FNU President said.

“The Filipino nurses have long been violated of their basic rights to humane work conditions, just treatment and decent compensation. FNU believes that a government that cares for its nurses is in effect taking good care of its people’s health needs.

While Filipino nurses are competent and caring, the difficult work conditions and heavy workload hamper the delivery of quality health care welfare. Consider the present situation where 1 nurse handles 60-80 patients in bedside and 1:30,000 population in community setting, nurses invariably suffer from extended, often unpaid duty hours due to severe understaffing, aggravated by very low pay, inadequate benefits and even shortage or lack of medicines, supplies and equipment to carry out their nursing tasks thus unduly compromising patient care.

We are hoping the present government would prioritize health care, as it promised, while ensuring that nurses are treated more humanely starting with just compensation and grant of their benefits.” Ms. Nolasco added.

“There are around 500, 000 registered nurses but there are only approximately 38,000 locally employed, around 200,000 working abroad, around 200,000 unemployed or misemployed. The irony remains that we have many nurses but 7 out of 10 Filipinos die without receiving any health attention. The government statistics state that there is a relation of migration to poor health status of the Filipino people.

“Many nurses, particularly in private sector and local government units receive very low pay, ranging from P5,000 to P8,000. Those in government has received a measly P21.00 increase per month. Thousands are being exploited and abused by government and private health institutions in the guise of volunteerism or training, while performing the tasks of regular staff nurse or personnel.

We challenge the government to ensure that all “endo” nurses or job order nurses and other contractuals, be regularized and not terminated, both in private and government sectors. ” Ms. Andamo, FNU Secretary-General said.

“We call on all nurses to make a stand for our right to serve our own people and uphold the people’s right to health. Because as we, nurses, fight for our rights, we fight for our people’s right to free, comprehensive and progressive health care that is responsive to the people’s needs. The government should fulfill its obligation to nurses so that we can effectively perform our duties. It is in improving the working conditions of health workers like us that we could serve our people in the best possible way. The government should enforce laws for just and living wage and humane working conditions; pass House Bill 1619 that sets P25,000 monthly minimum wage of all nurses, both in public and private sector,” Ms. Andamo explained.

As we commemorate Nurses’ Week, we challenge the government to recognize and grant our legitimate calls:

P25,000 Monthly minimum wage for all nurses!

Decent jobs for nurses!

Stop all forms of contractualization! Regularize all contractual nurses!

October 19, 2016

Download the full text version of this > nurses-wk-press-release-oct2016-final


PDI Sept 7 ‘16

We find absurd, if not insulting, the plan of DOH Secretary Ubial to field “undercover patients” in public hospitals to spot-check “grumpy” doctors and nurses. This, in response to the chiding of a “pro-poor” Visayan congressman ( Negros Or) during the health budget deliberation, who said he witnessed alleged attitude problem of doctors and nurses toward patients in a public hospital in his area of jurisdiction (PDI 07 sept16).

While there may indeed be “grumpy” health workers, especially nurses in the frontline (the OPD/ER and charity wards), we must recognize the overall environment that gives rise to such a disposition. As a long-time public health doctor, Health Secretary Ubial should have been more circumspect of the challenges health workers face day-by-day while performing their sworn duty to render care to patients. Public hospitals, in fact, are virtual showcases of the pathetic conditions of our health care delivery system: nurses saddled with heavy workload, extended duties, problem of understaffing, low wages and non-grant of benefits while contending with the lack of or inadequate supplies, medicines and equipment for patients, mostly the poor and indigent who seek hospital care when they are already in distress and gravely sick.

The Health Secretary’s quick acquiescence to the singular and limited experience of the Visayan solon seems to show how little she grasps the plight of health foot soldiers’ whose interest and general welfare she should instead be championing.

Notwithstanding the occasional “grumpy” mood, nurses and other health workers who work under constant constraints deserve commendation and should be given support in the just fight for living wage and more humane and dignifying work conditions.

The Filipino Nurses United, a national organization of nurses advocating for nurses’ rights and people’s right to health takes the lead in the campaign for P25k starting salary for all nurses; a provision in the Nursing Law 2002 specific for government nurses but which the State has deprived them for the last 14 years. This also serves as benchmark for nurses in the private sector, as well as LGU nurses under the devolved system, who are generally given subsistence wages with little or no benefits and non-secure status.

While we were hopeful that meaningful “change” will happen as promised by the new president, the Health Secretary’s policy directions appear headed toward health privatization which mean making health service more and more a business proposition that the people, including the poor, will be paying for.