MANILA - Around 100 health workers marked a day dedicated to them on Monday by taking their grievances to the streets and demanding a wage increase.
Donning white overalls, the health workers marched from the Department of Health to Mendiola near the presidential palace, waving flags as they sought higher compensation.
They sought an increase of the salary Grade 1 of a nurse to P30,000, saying the P10,000 monthly pay of salary Grade 1 nurses is not enough to sustain one’s needs.
Maristela Abenojar has been a nurse for almost 3 decades. She said, while her passion for her work is unwavering, she asked for much better care for patients from the government.
She recalled how one of her patients died unnecessarily due to lack of proper equipment in a government-run hospital. She couldn't help but regret how it could have been a different story had the government addressed the budget problems back then.
Rose Mary Solinap, a caregiver, could not help but feel neglected. After her service of 8 years, she almost tried her luck abroad but decided against it because she felt the country needed her most. She ponders how her decision could have changed her life.
This story is true for many health workers, including nurse Blue dela Cruz, who advises new nurses and heath workers to be aware of the issues and do something about it.
Robert Mendoza, president of the Alliance of Health Workers, said many hospitals in the country are understaffed because qualified and registered health workers tend to leave for better opportunities. He said this leads to overworked and underpaid hospital staff.
On this day, the health workers hoped against all odds that they will be noticed and given the care that they deserve.