THE Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) on Sunday said that they could not blame healthcare workers (HCWs) threatening the government they would resign en masse for the Duterte administration’s failure to give the benefits due them.
In a television interview, PNA National President Melbert B. Reyes said that as much as they discourage the option of mass resignation, they can’t stop health-care workers from doing so.
“Di natin sila masisisi kung gagawin nila ‘yan [We can’t blame them if they will really do that],” Reyes said stressing that they don’t feel the appreciation and concern from government.
Citing data from the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Reyes said that around 40 percent of private hospital nurses have quit their jobs.
Earlier, the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) also warned of a possible mass resignation if they still can’t receive the “special risk allowance” (SRA) from the Department of Health (DOH).
FNU President Maristela P. Abenojar, said that the monthly P5,000 SRA was stipulated under Bayanihan Law for health-care workers.
THE DOH, on the other hand, clarified that the alleged ‘deficiencies’ in the management of P275.9 million in cash allowances, gift certificates and grocery items, cited in the Commission on Audit (COA) 2020 Consolidated Annual Audit Report, have already been settled with the issuance of Presidential Memorandum dated June 1, 2021.
Under Republic Act 11494 or Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, health-care workers are entitled to meals, accommodation and transportation benefits. To provide these benefits to health-care workers, the DOH downloaded P2.4 billion to centers for health development, DOH hospitals, and specialty hospitals.
“To immediately distribute these benefits, given the challenges of providing actual meals to health-care workers who do not follow regular break schedules, some hospitals and facilities opted to provide the benefits through cash, grocery vouchers, grocery items, and the like,” the DOH said.
However, the DOH stressed that state auditors disagreed and recommended the return of the allowances already paid.
“The DOH took up the cause of our health-care workers and requested the Office of the President for presidential imprimatur to allow the provision of these benefits in cash equivalents.”
The Office of the President, the DOH said, responded to the request of the health-care workers and recognized the need to provide meal, transportation, and accommodation benefits for public and private health workers in cash equivalents like gift cheques, grocery vouchers, grocery items, and the like in its June 1, 2021, Memorandum. Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco