Tondo Medical Center (TMC) employees hold a noon time ‘snake rally and noise barrage’ protest starting from their respective wards and offices down to their hospital grounds to press the lawmakers and Duterte government to increase their salaries as well as the 2022 proposed health budget.
TMC is a tertiary hospital that caters to the health needs of both in and out-patients along residential and industrial areas not only in Tondo but also from Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) and some coming from Bulacan.
In this time of pandemic, TMC handles both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients. Yet, TMC is one among those 76 DOH hospitals that has zero budget for Capital Outlay (CO) for 2022.
Zero Capital Outlay means no budget for health facilities and purchase of medical equipment like mechanical ventilators, oxygen hi-flow machines for the use of increasing number of COVID-19 and even non-COVID patients.
“We vehemently call on the senators and the Duterte administration to prioritize the use of funds for the greater needs of the people in these trying times of pandemic, health and economic crisis,” stated Ernesto Bulanadi, President, Tondo Medical Center Employees Association-Alliance of Health Workers (TMCEA-AHW).
They also express their anger against Secretary Duque and this government over non-release of their benefits under Bayanihan Law 2 such as active hazard duty pay (AHDP) covering the period of January to June 2021 and the 70% of their meal, accommodation and transportation (MAT) benefits from September-December 2020 and the 100% no budget for the MAT benefits from January-June 2021.
“Secretary Duque and DOH authorities and no less than President Duterte have long promised us that we will receive the benefits under Bayanihan Law 2 which expired on June 30, 2021, but until after the deadline set by President Duterte we did not enjoy such benefits.” Bulanadi exclaimed.
“Here in TMC, more than 10 health workers have already resigned from their post due to lack of protection, overworked and underpaid. We are disappointed that even for the year 2022 there is no budget intended for the increase of nurses’ and health workers’ salaries. Despite the fact that we are risking our lives battling the deadly virus.” he added.
“The reason that many health workers leave our country to work overseas because of the extreme negligence on the part of DOH and this government in ensuring health workers’ protection, safety, health and welfare. And who suffered the most – the patients that we served. Now more than ever, the DOH and this government must realize our important role especially now that we are the warriors in this war against COVID-19.” Bulanadi expressed.
Aside from the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits, they also demand the immediate release of their Performance Based Bonus (PBB) for the year 2019 and 2020.
Health workers reiterated their calls:
1. INCREASE health budget by allotting P2.064 Trillion (10% of the Gross Domestic Product) to direct public health services and for COVID-19 response;
2. RESTORE the P1 Billion MOOE budget cut of GOCC hospitals;
3. FUND COVID-19 benefits amounting to P969B for SRA, AHDP, MAT and COVID-19 compensation benefits of all 1.8M health workers in 2022 DOH budget;
4. Mass Hiring of Regular Health Workers
a. Regularize 16,591 job orders and contracts of service health workers!
b. Fill up 14,241 vacant positions! Create additional plantilla positions!
c. All 22,000 contractuals hired as Human Resources for Health (HRH) deployment program for 2022 should be regularized. Health workers in the hospital and other health facilities are vital and essential to the service;
5. RELEASE MAT benefits of health workers in the DOH hospitals covering the period of September-December 19, 2020. RELEASE the SRA, AHDP and MAT benefits from January-June 2021;
6. ALLOCATE P1.069 trillion to COVID-19 response which includes free mass testing program, systematic contact tracing, more isolation facilities and proper treatment;
7. Increase National Minimum Salaries of SG1 health workers to P16,000 per month at once and not in tranches!
8. Increase Nurses’ Salaries, P33k entry salary for private and public sector.
The group said they will continue to stand up and act for their rights and well -being, along with their vow to hold accountable the corrupt, negligent and incompetent officials of the DOH and the Duterte government. (Kiara Lauren Ibanez/BENJAMIN CUARESMA/mtvn)