By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos wants to raise the salaries of nurses and healthcare workers across the country as part of his "Tawid-Covid, Beyond Covid" program if he is elected President in the 2022 elections.
Marcos said that through the program, the healthcare system would be bolstered by bigger funding and benefits for healthcare workers, adding more public hospitals, and boosting the country's medical research capability.
He said he would recruit the top minds in the medical and scientific research sectors of the country to achieve this program.
The former lawmaker and governor believes the frontline medical workers should be a government priority to ensure a strong health care system amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
He pointed out that the low salaries and benefits of many nurses have forced them to seek better pay abroad or pursue different careers.
Government data showed that although 75,000 nurses were working in public and private hospitals nationwide, the Philippines still had a shortage of 109,000 nurses.
He also cited news reports that said Filipino nurses were the lowest-paid in Southeast Asia, with an average monthly salary of just P40,000—compared to their counterparts in Singapore who earned upwards of P200,000 a month.
"It's time to face the root of the problem of our lack of nurses -- their low salaries. It's not right that they are breaking their backs amid the COVID-19 pandemic when they are needed the most now," Marcos said.
He said his COVID-19 program is being crafted by experts from various sectors who would guide the government in fixing the healthcare system.
Marcos is also troubled by the lack of public hospitals that was exposed by the pandemic.
"I was surprised that we have not put up a major hospital like the Heart Center, NKTI, and the Lung Center of the Philippines since 1986.
We are still relying on these specialty hospitals until now," he added.