This serves as a supplemental dispatch to that which I issued yesterday on the proposed enlisting of nursing students.
We are faced with a monster we have to vanquish with our very limited resources. Our medical workforce is starting to dwindle against our favor – unfortunately so, at the very early stages of our fight against this enemy we cannot see. The DOH has admitted this predicament, and even asked for volunteers who may step in during this period of great uncertainty.
But before we start enlisting them, I remind Secretary Duque that per the 2020 National Expenditure Program, there remains 13,058 unfilled positions under the DOH. That is on top of the 26,035 contractual positions for health workers which DBM has authorized to support the implementation of the Human Resource for Health Deployment Program (HRHDP) of the DOH.
Please don’t give the applicants a run around anymore, give those positions to the qualified and competent to help save more lives. By utilizing this option which is already at the disposal of the DOH, our frontline will be manned and strengthened to hold the line until a vaccine or a cure is discovered.
Then we may call on our nation’s second line of defense – we conscript the graduates of medical schools and nursing schools who will rise to the occasion. The Department is already vested under Article III, Section 12 of “The Medical Act of 1959” to empower these graduates and students to practice, though in a limited capacity, their dream profession and be heroic at the time our country needs them most.
In hiring and call out these brave souls the frontlines, the DOH must ensure that they are equipped, compensated and safeguarded. Let us protect them who will risk their lives to protect and save the lives of our people.
The lives of millions are in the hands of the DOH whose mandate is to protect and save lives. The challenge may be daunting, the enemy might be too formidable, but together, and with tireless efforts and God’s grace, the war against COVID-19 will be won.
(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 752, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._752)