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Magna Carta for private health workers crucial as PH faces crisis — Bayan Muna

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Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Ferdinand Gaite, Carlos Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat on Tuesday filed the Magna Carta for Private Health Workers Bill, which they said is “urgent and crucial as the country faces a health crisis.”

“Budget cuts and longtime government neglect have resulted to and aggravated the public health crisis. And at the same time, Filipino health workers themselves, who are the frontliners of our health system, also face a crisis,” said Rep. Ferdinand Gaite.

“This crisis is the crisis of being overworked, underpaid, and of being deprived of job security and union rights. The salaries of most health workers are way below the daily minimum cost of living pegged at P1,205/day or P36,150 per month for a family of six. Marami rin ang kontraktwal sa kanila,” he added.

“This proposed act seeks to uplift the standard of living of our health professionals by setting a minimum salary, prohibition of contractualization, and setting of reasonable work load and prohibition of understaffing, among other things,” Gaite explained.

The bills seeks to peg the minimum salary at P30,000 for nurses, and P750 per day for other health workers.

According to House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, the proposed salary adjustment would help encourage health professionals to remain in the country rather than look for better paying jobs abroad.

“Kung sa bilang ng nurses pa lamang ang pag-uusapan halos 19,000 na kada taon ang lumalabas ng bansa, tiyak na may ilang libo pa na health professionals natin ang nangingibang-bayan para pumasok sa trabahong mas mataas ang kita,” he said.

“Kaya itong paglalagay natin ng disenteng minimum salary para sa ating mga health professionals ay inaasahan natin na makatulong sa paghikayat sa kanila na manatili sa bansa,” said Zarate.

In the bill’s explanatory note, the Bayan Muna solons noted the disparity of income between health workers in public and private health facilities as the latter are not covered by Republic Act 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers of 1992.

That law entitles public health workers to benefits like hazard pay, subsistence allowance, laundry allowance, and longevity pay, among others.

These “despite the fact that health workers in public and private facilities perform the same tasks and face the same risks in providing health services and saving the lives of Filipino patients,” the lawmakers said.

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