By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo has urged the Department of Health (DOH) to hire as permanent employees hundreds of doctors and nurses who have volunteered to help the government fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Castelo said instead of just giving the volunteers a mere daily allowance of P500, the national government through the DOH should consider recruiting them to fill numerous vacancies in the DOH.
She noted that their willingness to take the risk and join the war against this disease “is their best qualification for those jobs.”
Castelo explained compensation in the bureaucracy is attractive enough even for doctors and nurses, especially those who are just starting to practice their profession.
Under the fifth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL-5), the entry pay for doctors is Salary Grade 21—P59,353.
Meanwhile that for nurses is Salary Grade 15—P32,053 following a Supreme Court ruling handed down in October last year.
Congress had included more than P3 billion in the 2020 national budget for upgrading compensation for nurses in government hospitals who used to receive Salary Grade 11 pay.
While the hiring of volunteer doctors and nurses as permanent personnel is being processed, Castelo suggested that the DOH could employ them as consultants and pay them salaries commensurate to Salary Grades 15 and 21, and “not just P500 a day or P15,000 a month if they work every day.”
“The DOH has a number of appropriations in its P42.2-billion allocation for maintenance and other operating expenses that it can use for such consultancy services. One item is P3 billion allocated precisely for the hiring of consultants,” she said.
She said another item that could be tapped amounts to more than P500 million, which is for “other maintenance and operating expenses.”
“The DOH has enough funds and leeway to give appropriate compensation to its volunteer doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers,” she said.