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No oversupply of nurses with understaffed public hospitals, Anakbayan tells DOLE

September 28, 2010

“How can there be an oversupply of Filipino nurses when our own public hospitals are suffering from a severe shortage of nurses?”

This was the question of Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez to claims by Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE) secretary Rosalinda Baldoz that the demand for our local nurses is declining.

According to the Alliance of Health Workers, the 20,000 plantilla positions for nurses in the Dept. of Health (DOH) has not been filled up since 1985. In fact, the number of nurses in public hospitals has gone down from 19,052 to 17,000 in 2003-2008, according to data from the National Institute for Health.

“Baldoz’s analysis is unforgivably one-sided. Even if we assume that there really is a decline in overseas demand for our nurses, that doesn’t mean that there are no jobs waiting for them” said the youth leader.

She said “Instead of prepping our nurses to take low-paying and demeaning jobs, the DOLE should join us in calling for a higher budget for the DOH, which would lead to decent salaries for public hospital employees and personnel”.

In the proposed 2011 budget, funding for the 55 public hospitals nationwide would be slashed by P363.7 million. In the same budget, GOCC hospitals would be reduced by P970.6 million. Some GOCC hospitals include the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Phil. Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center. The University of the Philippines, from which the Phil. General Hospital receives its funding, is set to receive a budget cut of P1.39 billion.

“It’s a case of hitting two birds with one stone: you provide a decent livelihood for the tens of thousands of nursing school graduates every year, and you also improve our health system” added Bañez.

  1. There are many Philippine Nurses to be found in hospitals all over the world. Unfortunately many have used the route of nursing as a way out of the poverty trap in the Philippines only to find themselves trapped financially in another country. One such place is Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Philippine nurses get duped into working there with the promise of a tax free salary, free accommodation and a better standard of living. Although this may in part be true, what is not explained is the huge disparity between their salaries and those of locals and other expats. The Filipinos work hard for their money, but get laiden with huge debt which is more than willingly lent to them by unscrupulous banks and they then find themselves unable to pay the loans back. After much suffering they then run away without paying off their debts. This happens to all too many people.

    Another hazard is the muder, rape and assaults that Filipina silently suffer in a country where there is no crime, i.e. such crimes go almost unreported. Some nurses are successful in their overseas endevours I am sure and have a wonderful life. Many more I bet wish they never left their homeland.

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