By: Rochelle Mae E. Manucum / The Dominican Gazette
Low Pay, High Risk. Overworked yet Underpaid, Essential but undervalued. As the country deals with the fresh surge in infections driven by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), health care workers in the Philippines continue to suffer from poor working conditions and delayed benefits.
I firmly believe that our government has been underreckoning our health care workers. Given the situation we are in, they are our real-life heroes. In a war, they are soldiers. They are at the forefront of the country’s battle against the COVID-19. Medical workers are sacrificing themselves to cease this nightmare. Imagine not having enough time for your slumber and mealtime, being unable to have quality time with your family, and still not having the wage that you deserve. I believe it is now time to accredit our healthcare practitioners, nursing home workers, and emergency service providers. It’s been over a year. Up to now, we still depend on them.
Thinking about it, how will they be able to support their families? How will they be able to put food on the table? No wonder some wouldn’t waver being an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) rather than working in their homeland. Salary is too low compared to other countries. We all know that inadequate pay often leads to employee departures. According to CNN Philippines, a reliable news source, studies show that Filipino nurses and medical technologists receive the lowest salary in the Southeast Asian region. Filipino registered nurses only earn around ₱40,381 per month. On the other hand, Filipino medical technologists have an average monthly salary of more or less ₱29,444, compared to the highest-paid Singaporean nurses and medical technologists, earning an average of ₱236,000 and ₱210,000 a month respectively. Not to mention, aside from their high salaries, other government officials still use and expand people’s wealth for their own sake. It seems that political corruption is one of the main factors why the Philippines is still an impoverished country, and its economy is unceasingly falling. It also forestalls righteous governance principles and structures from being enforced.
In my opinion, they have to stop spending the COVID-19 funds on futile things to say that they’re doing something for the country, like implementing face shields that are ineffective against the virus. Instead, utilize it for the welfare of our health care workers for the Filipino citizens who are really in need in this time of the pandemic.