Marcos Jr.: Leaders from all over the world asking for more PH health workers

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2023 02:22 PM

Members of the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) parade along Padre Faura to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, for its 3rd National Congress with the theme " Advancing Nurses' Rights and Welfare for better service to the People." Maria Tan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday highlighted anew the importance of Filipino health workers, saying world leaders have expressed their interest for more of them in their own countries. 

During his speech at the groundbreaking of St. Bernadette Children and Maternity Hospital in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Marcos said country leaders he met during his working trips overseas thanked him for Pinoy health workers.

"Alam niyo po, 'pag nakikipag-meeting ako sa lahat ng mga leader, lahat ng mga presidente, mga prime minister ng kahit saan, kahit sa Amerika, kahit sa Canada, kahit sa Europe, lahat, lahat nagtatanong --- puwede ba kaming kumuha ng workers, ng health workers sa inyo?" Marcos said. 

"Dahil sa buong mundo, ang kauna-unahang hinahanap nilang health workers ay ang mga Pilipino at ang mga Pilipina," he added. 

"Lahat po ng mga prime minister, ng mga pangulo, ay nagpapasalamat po sa atin."

The community hospital, he noted, will have 65 beds, and will have maternity and isolation facilities, imaging facility, pharmacy, and a clinical laboratory. 

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines said private hospitals went into the COVID-19 pandemic with a 40 percent shortage in its nursing workforce.

Data gathered by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group show that almost 6,000 Filipino nursing professionals have left despite a government-imposed deployment cap of 5,000 in 2020. 

It must be noted that the Philippines was not able to produce licensed nurses that year, after the cancellation of the board exam due to COVID-19 restrictions and community lockdowns.

In 2021, the deployment cap was raised to 7,000 and yet the deployment was over 10,000, followed by another 9,000 in 2022.

A group of nurses last month reiterated its call for a P50,000 entry level salary for nurses and massive hiring to address understaffing, among others. 

Marcos last year said he supports a strengthened Philippine Nurses Act, vowing to increase benefits and scholarship opportunities for nurses to address burnout. 

He also admitted that their benefits are not enough in the country.

— with a report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News 

Video from PTV