MANILA — A lawmaker has proposed a measure mandating new Filipino doctors and nurses to work in the country for a year before they could seek jobs abroad.
In an ANC interview on Tuesday, Malasakit and Bayahanihan party-list Rep. Anthony Rolando Golez Jr. said House Bill No. 6232, also known as Mandatory Medical Service Bill, aimed to address the shortage of healthcare workers in the Philippines.
Last year, the Department of Health said the country lacked around 106,000 nurses. The figure has since swelled to 350,000.
"The threat is real for us to see later on that this may be a national security concern because of the threat of an impending or a new strain of virus that will run around our country and we will be needing doctors," Golez told "Headstart".
"Filipinos are very good doctors and nurses... What will happen if everybody is out? At least, we know that we have a regular supply of nurses and doctors for a year [with this bill]."
The DOH previously said it was looking at an "incentive program" from other countries to help the local health sector address brain drain.
Less than half of Filipino nurses stay and work in the Philippines, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire has said, amid continued migration of healthcare workers to other countries.
In the Philippines, private hospitals pay their nurses between P9,000 and P15,000, the Philippine Nurses Association earlier said. Meanwhile, entry-level nurses in public hospitals start with a monthly salary of P33,000.
Last month, a group of nurses urged the government to raise the entry salary of nurses to P50,000 amid high inflation.