Health chief says 'not enough' budget to pay regular medical workers

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2018 12:24 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2018 12:50 PM

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MANILA - The Department of Health does not have enough budget to pay for the salaries and benefits of all field workers if they will be regularized, Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday.

The objective of regularizing or contracting these employees in the interim is "very good," but this would entail additional costs to pay for their social security benefits, he said.

"The reality is there’s not enough resources to put everyone on a regular basis," he told ANC's Headstart, adding that the agency would also soon have to implement the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law.

"Maganda nga yung gagawin mo, itataas mo, iko-contractualize mo sila and you have added social security benefits and the salary tranche 4 rates, pero kung hindi mo itataas yung rates mo, magkaka-cut ka," he said.

Some 14,207 personnel, consisting of doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and other medical personnel deployed to the rural areas, will lose their job with the P8-billion cut for the DOH's human resources for health deployment program, he said.

This fund is currently placed under the agency's maintenance and other operating expenses, which would allow for the hiring of employees through job orders, but the Department of Budget and Management wants this moved to the miscellaneous personnel benefit fund to make way for the regularization, said Duque.

"Ang position ng DBM ganito: only 77.4 percent ang field plantilla positions and they were referring to personnel in the hospitals of the DOH...We’re talking of an entirely separate human resource program—manpower meant to be deployed to the local communities," he said.

"Baka kailangan lang talagang linawin; they were probably a bit myopic about the data given to them," he added.