MANILA - Some 30 members of the Aksyon Health Workers Party-list staged a protest in front of the Supreme Court on Friday as they sought to reverse their group's disqualification from the midterm polls.
The group is contesting the November 9 decision of the Commission on Elections which rejected it as a legitimate representative of the marginalized group it seeks to represent.
The poll body stood by its ruling in denying the group's motion for reconsideration on January 17.
Aksyon Health Workers Party-list "genuinely represents the people belonging to the marginalized sectors of health workers and health professionals whose salaries fall way below the living wage and whose benefits and welfare are neglected or denied," its first nominee, Dr. Joseph Carabeo, said in a statement.
He pointed out that health workers often work beyond paid hours and sacrifice personal time but suffer from low wages, job insecurity, absence or lack of professional development, and precarious work conditions.
Even worse, Carabeo said 6 out of 10 Filipino patients die without medical attention even if the causes are highly preventable and curable.
"What does this tell us? Health is not a priority of the government," he said.
The group said it intends to campaign for free medical services, removal of value-added tax in all medicines, substantial increase in salaries and benefits for public and private health workers, regular jobs and the passage of a magna carta for private health workers.