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Vaccination czar Carlito Galvez Jr. proposed frontliners memorial wall site in Libingan ng mga Bayani, but failed to compensate frontliners

Healthcare workers continue to call and protest from the government, but the government continues with its ‘heroism’ narrative and fails to compensate and give benefits to the frontliners.

On August 31, 2021, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte addressed the nation through a recorded speech.

President Duterte attacked Sen. Gordon’s physical appearance in his speech, emphasizing that this insult should not be cut. 

He also said that Sen. Marcos and her brother Bongbong Marcos visited his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

In the latter speech, Health Sec. Duque was given time to provide an update on the Philippines’ COVID-19 pandemic situation and response. He reported that, “the country’s COVID case fatality rate is 1.69%. Ito ay bumaba ng bahagya kumpara sa mga nakaraang linggo.”

However, on the same day, DOH reported a new record-high of 22,366 fresh COVID-19 cases in one day.

Vaccination czar Galvez also reported on the COVID-19 vaccine response, stating that 3 million purchased Sinovac doses are scheduled to arrive on that day and be distributed to provinces. However, only the second dosage will be distributed in Metro Manila.

Vaccine czar Galvez announced that 45% were already vaccinated in Metro Manila. 

Moving forward with his presentation, Galvez proposed COVID-19 Frontliners Memorial Wall Site in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“The mural will tell the story. It will tell their heroism… We will do it in two to three months, before December tatapusin namin,” Galvez explained.

He added that, “Ito ang magiging dedication natin sa kanilang heroism.”

But contrary to this proposal by Vaccine czar Galvez, healthcare workers continue to be underpaid but overworked in the Philippines. What healthcare workers need in these devastating situations is to be compensated according to their work and give the benefits they need.

A Twitter user who is a doctor expressed his sentiment by tweeting, “Hindi yan ang kailangan ng mga medical frontliners. Pagkakakitaan nyo nanaman eh.”

Yesterday, September 1, 2021, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque held a media briefing. When asked if President Duterte can raise the salary of medical frontliners before he steps down?

Roque answered that “Nagawa na ‘yun […] ang starting salary ng nurse ay hindi na nalalayo sa starting salary ng pulis o sundalo.”

 According to the law of Section 32 of Republic Act No. 9173, or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, the minimum monthly base salary for nurses will be from P32,053 to P34,801, which is equivalent to Salary Grade (SG) 15. This was only implemented last July 2020.

Before it was implemented, the entry-level government nurses received SG 11 wages, equivalent to P22,316 to P24,391 per month.

As shared by a netizen in Twitter: “By law, yes. Pero naimplement ba? Or nagkalegal workaround nanaman e.g. hiring RNs as job orders or anything of that sort? Last I heard kasi, madaming ganun specially sa level ng primary care.” 

Another Twitter user shared publicity material of the Municipality of Cardona looking for registered nurses that can work in the Office of the Municipal Health Officer, which only have a monthly salary of P13,000 and is under a contract service.

The healthcare workers continue to call and protest from the government to give the benefits they deserve.

Written by Cris Arizo

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