Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has commended the public health workers for their selfless service and dedication in upholding standard health quality service despite the myriad challenges they constantly face in their job.
In her message read during the recent 2nd Convention of the Aksyon Health Workers Partylist last Sept. 22, De Lima said the health workers’ effort and sacrifice to help save people’s lives should be recognized both by the government and the citizenry.
“Hindi po biro ang inyong trabaho. Napakabigat na tungkulin ang ginagampanan ninyo. Mula sa pag-aaruga ng may sakit sa mga pagamutan, sa panganib na inyong hinaharap sa pagresponde at paglalapat ng agarang lunas sa oras ng kalamidad, hanggang sa pagsagip ng mga buhay, mayroon din kayong mga sakripisyo, mga pang-araw-araw at personal na hamon na kailangang pagdaanan,” she said.
The Senator from Bicol also expressed concern over the obvious discrimination in the delivery of services among the health workforce, health workers and patients which greatly contribute to inadequate health care system.
For one, she recalled that 17 percent in the Department of Health’s (DOH) 2019 proposed budget will be cut–accounting for 171 billion in the 2018 approved budget and 142 billion in the 2019 proposed budget.
“This will compromise allocations for key health infrastructures and contractual workers in the health sector, specifically under the Health Facility Enhancement Program,” she said.
De Lima also noted the grossly inadequate number of health workers in the country by citing records from the 2019 National Expenditure Program confirming that there are 16,000 vacant permanent positions in the DOH.
“Naghihingalo na nga ang marami sa mga pasilidad at kagamitan sa ating mga pampublikong ospital, kulang pa tayo sa mga manggagawang pangkalusugan, lalo na sa mga kanayunan. Ngayon, babawasan pa ang pondong nakalaan para sa sektor ng kalusugan?” she asked.
“Nasaan ang pagmamalasakit sa mga nag-aaruga sa may sakit at may kapansanan? Bilib po tayo sa sipag at tatag ng ating mga health workers, pero alam din natin na hindi naman kayo mga robot o si superman at wonder woman para hindi tablan ng karamdaman,” she added.
Aware of the many challenges that go with fulfilling the duties of health workers, De Lima has filed, as early as May this year, Senate Bill (SB) No. 1793, or the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers, which seeks to provide additional benefits to public health workers, notably the establishment of emergency compensation for those who have suffered from work-related injuries and accidents.
De Lima said she is hopeful that her measure will not only gain the support of his colleagues from the Senate but also of the general public, especially health workers themselves.
“Let us strengthen our shared initiatives–a robust health care service that is accessible, available, acceptable, and of good quality for everyone, regardless of who they are and where they come from a humane, just and healthy society where no one is left behind,” she said.