MANILA – The Alliance of Health Workers gave President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s first State of the Nation Address on Monday a barely passing grade, saying that what he said remains to be seen or felt especially by health workers.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News, AHW National President Robert Mendoza noted the lack of specifics in terms of uplifting the welfare of the country’s health workers.
“Walang linaw sa sinasabi niyang aayusin niya ang welfare ng healthcare workers. Sana malinaw," Mendoza said.
"Mas gusto sana ng mga health workers na malinaw, mismo sa bibig niya, masabi niya na, 'Ok health workers, don’t worry. Dahil kayo ang mga bayani ng pandemiya, ire-release na natin ang mga benepisyong ito, yung One COVID Allowance, kasama ang health emergency allowance, as soon as possible.' Para maramdaman ang totoong pangangalaga at pagkalinga sa mga health workers,” he added.
(It's not clear how he will address the welfare of healthcare workers. We wish it was made clearer. It would've been better if he told health workers not to worry because, being the heroes during the pandemic, their benefits like the One COVID Allowance, along with their health emergency allowance, will be released as soon as possible.
With that, health workers will feel the care.)
Marcos received a standing ovation from lawmakers after saying specialty hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines and National Kidney and Transplant Institute should not be felt only by those in Metro Manila but also those living in other parts of the country.
But for the AHW, specialty hospitals are already present in some regional hospitals.
“Marami tayong specialty hospitals sa regions na nandiyan na. Sana ito yung kanilang i-upgrade at i-modernize para doon na lang sana maglagay ng dagdag na pasilidad," Mendoza said.
(We have many specialty hospitals in the regions. We hope they will upgrade and modernize these.)
Marcos also noted the need to make health care accessible to Filipinos, especially those living in far-flung areas.
But for the AHW, this is not something new as the Universal Health Care Act, signed during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, has the exact same goal. Much of the objectives of the law, however, have yet to be felt by the people as it is one that is progressively realized, said Mendoza.
“Hindi po ito bago. Kasi kahit sa previous presidents natin, sinasabi nila na accessibility ng healthcare system sa depressed areas. Ang DOH talagang naglalabas ng doctors to the barrios, mga human resources for health para mapuntahan ang ibang areas. So hindi na po ito bago," he said.
(This is not new. Previous presidents have promised accessibility of the healthcare system in depressed areas. The DOH deploys doctors to the barrios, and other human resources for health in far-flung areas. This is not new.)
“Pasang awa muna tayo. Kasi nadala na tayo sa previous SONAs ng previous presidents, na pinapasa natin pero sa output, wala namang nangyayari. Puro promises na lang ang binubulalas sa mamamayan,” Mendoza said of Marcos' first SONA.
(We will give him a barely passing grade for now, because we've already learned our lessons from the SONAs of past presidents. We gave them passing grades but there's no output. They just keep on making promises.)
The AHW said they will continue to monitor Marcos’ plans especially in terms of overcoming the pandemic, as well as wait for the time when healthcare workers receive what they truly deserve.