THE “rescue” of Department of Health-employed medical doctors, nurses and dentists is, without doubt, good news in this poverty-stricken but manpower-exporting nation.
Reports said the DOH will no longer terminate the thousands of field health personnel in 2017.
This after members of the Senate managed to convince health department officials to use their “unutilized” P24-billion budget in 2016 to pay for the health workers’ salaries.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said the DoH agreed to observe the “status quo” in its Rural Health Practice Program (RHPP), which was originally programmed to shed jobs.
Recto urged the DoH to use what will remain of its 2016 budget, insofar as the portion allowed to be carried over next year, to fund RHPP’s existing slots and purchase more medicines.
In addition to retaining thousands of RHPP hires, Recto said DoH’s continuing appropriations, which are unspent funds from preceding years, can be used to double its budget for medicines from P7 billion to P14 billion.
“We hit two birds with one stone. We retain the medical workers and we increase the budget for medicines,” said Recto.
Last week, the senator from Batangas said thousands of nurses, doctors and dentists face the dreaded “end of contract” if Congress will not override the government’s plan to downsize the number of frontline health personnel.
The “rescue” of the health professionals is a wake-up call to the government to finally create more quality local jobs to meet the employment needs of the burgeoning population.
Thus, the authorities should waste no time in addressing the country’s unemployment and underemployment problems not only in the metropolis but elsewhere.