MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said it is willing to listen to angry health care workers' demands and concerns, days after they bared the plan to commit mass resignations as more hospitals get overwhelmed with COVID-19 admissions.
In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the medical workers' plan would have a negative effect on the country's hospitals as the Phiippines battles another surge of infections.
Many hospitals have already declared critical to full capacity.
"Sana po mapag-usapan natin lahat ito pong inyong mga hinaing para hindi tayo umabot sa ganitong aksyon dahil ito po ay makakaapekto sa sitwasyon natin na kailangang-kailangan po namin kayo... ng ating mga kababayan," said Vergeire.
(I hope that we can talk this through so it would not lead to that. Mass resignations would strain our health care system, most especially at a time of need.)
Health workers in private hospitals and medical institutions in the country are considering a "medical lockdown" due to reported low salaries and lack of benefits, according to a labor union official.
UST Hospital union president Donnel John Siason on Thursday said private sector health workers are frustrated that they are not receiving benefits which their counterparts in the public institution have been given.
But the health department said their channels are open for the health workers' concerns.
"Kung mayroon po tayong mga hinaing, kami po ay patuloy na nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga organisasyon ng health care workers at amin pong pinapakinggan ang kanilang mga dinudulog at kung magagawa namin agad-agad, ginagawa namin agad-agad kung ano ang mga kailangan nila."
(If you have any concerns, we are willing to coordinate with your unions to talk about it. We will try to respond to it immediately.)
Video Courtesy of PTV4
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III this week said the management of private hospitals should also raise the salaries of their employees. He added that the Senate should "compel" administrations of private health institutions to elevate the wages of their workers.
The development came as the country faced record infections over the past week, with new cases reaching over 13,000 on Friday, the second highest daily increase since the pandemic began.
Experts said the surge of infections in the country is likely driven by the more transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, which ripped through India's health care system at its peak and has caused spikes in cases in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.