Next Health Secretary should have 'malasakit' - group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2022 09:49 AM

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MANILA – A request to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr: the next chief of the Department of Health shouldn't just be a specialist or topnotch administrator but someone who has ‘malasakit’ or concern for the Filipino people, a group of nurses said Monday.

“Sa tingin po namin ang dapat na susunod na kalihim ng Department of Health ay isang tao na hindi lamang po may technical and specialization skills sa public health atsaka po sa administration kung hindi isa rin pong mamumuno na mayroon po talagang tunay na malasakit sa taumbayan,” Filipino Nurses United president Maristel Abenojar said. 

(I think the next Health Secretary should not only have technical and special skills in public health and administration, but also have a heart for the people.)

“Yung tipo po bang mabilis na kikilos kung kinakailangan at kokonsultahin palagi ang kanyang mga constituents lalo na po ang mga health workers natin na partners po ng DOH sa pagpapatupad ng mga programa,” she added.

(We want someone who can act fast and will always consult constituents, especially the health workers who are partners of DOH in implementing health programs.)

Newly-elected President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has yet to name a new Health Secretary.

Health workers have repeatedly tussled with former Health Secretary Francisco Duque III over the release of their benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Abenojar said they hope the Marcos administration would address the shortage of nurses in public health facilities nationwide.

“Ang dahilan po kaya kulang ang ating mga nurses halimbawa, ay sapagkat marami po sa kanila ang lumalabas ng bansa. Nito lamang pong December 31 2021, ang datos na ng Department of Health, ay mayroon ng 316,405 ang ating nurses na nasa ibang bansa,” she said.

“At yan po ay kumakatawan sa 34% ng kabuuang registered nurses na Filipino,” she added.

(We lack nurses because they go abroad. Last December 31, the DOH said 316,405 Filipino nurses are working abroad. And that's 34 percent of all Filipino registered nurses.)

Abenojar also said they are batting for a P50,000 starting salary for nurses nationwide.

“Kung maalala po ninyo, sinabi ni Socioeconomic Planning Secretary noong 2018 June, na para mabuhay po ang isang pamilya na may 5 miyembro, kailangan nila ng P42,000 a month. 2018 po yun.”

“Ang inflation rate po natin ngayong 2022, after 4 years ay sobra-sobra po ‘no, napakamahal na po ng mga bilihin kaya po ang aming hinihiling na P50,000 na panimulang sahod ay naaayon lang po,” she noted.

(In June 2018, then-Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said a family of 5 needs P42,000 a month. But that was 2018. After 4 years, our inflation rate right now in 2022 is already so high, so the P50,000 we are asking for is just enough.)

--TeleRadyo, 4 July 2022