WITH their work and sacrifices health workers such as doctors and nurses need more than allowances.
This is according to Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo as she appealed to the Department of Health (DoH) to hire as permanent employees the doctors and nurses who have volunteered to help the government fight coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Instead of just giving them a daily allowance of P500, we should consider recruiting them to fill numerous vacancies in the DOH. Their willingness to take the risk and join the war against this disease is their best qualification for those jobs,” Castelo said.
She said compensation in the bureaucracy is attractive enough even for doctors and nurses, especially those who are just starting to practice their profession.
The entry pay for doctors is Salary Grade 21 (P59,353), while that for nurses is Salary Grade 15 (P32,053) under a Supreme Court ruling handed down in October last year, she said.
Congress had included more than P3 billion in the national budget for this year for upgrading compensation for nurses in government hospitals who used to receive Salary Grade 11 pay.
Likewise, the Department of Budget and Management has already started to implement the salary adjustment for nurses.
While the hiring of volunteer doctors and nurses as permanent personnel is being processed, Castelo suggested that the DOH could employ them as consultants and pay them salaries commensurate with Salary Grades 15 and 21, and not just P500 a day or P15,000 a month if they work every day.
“The DOH has a number of appropriations in its P42.2 billion allocation for maintenance and other operating expenses that it can use for such consultancy services. One item is P3 billion allocated precisely for the hiring of consultants,” she said.
She said another item that could be tapped amounts to more than P500 million, which is for “other maintenance and operating expenses.”