MANILA, Philippines - Senate finance committee chairman Franklin Drilon wants the Department of Health (DOH) to use P1 billion in its budget for unfilled positions to provide jobs to some 287,000 nursing graduates who are either jobless or employed in jobs other than nursing.
Citing figures from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Health Secretary Enrique Ona admitted during the Senate's deliberation on the DOH's proposed 2012 budget that the number of jobless nurses is "worrisome," considering that there is only one nurse for every 30 patients in government hospitals.
Drilon reminded the DOH, however, that it has P1 billion for vacant positions, which will fall under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund (MPBF). The money will only be released once vacant positions are filled up.
"And yet we have 287,000 nurses who are not employed … and whose services are needed by these government hospitals," the senator said in a briefing.
Drilon noted that the Department of Budget and Management disallows hiring for administrative positions in the DOH because a freeze hiring is in place."
He said it is a "bureaucratic foul-up" that results in the deprivation of health services especially for the poor, and warned officials that he would not endorse the DOH's proposed budget to the Senate floor unless the DOH and DBM settle the issue.
"We cannot continue with this kind of set-up," Drilon said.