Press Release
July 12, 2006


To prevent the alarming exodus of the countrys healthcare professionals, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called for additional compensation and incentives for the countrys employed doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, technicians, nutritionists, therapists, aides and all other health workers who vigorously work in hospitals, barangay health centers and health care units in rural and urban areas.

Angara said that the country enjoys the distinction of reputedly the number one major exporter of nurses to the world, and the second major exporter of physicians. However, Angara said, the time now calls for competitive compensation and additional incentives for the countrys employed health workers because they are inevitably enticed to work outside the country.

Angara noted that compared to earnings abroad, employed nurses in the country today receive a measly monthly salary ranging from P8,000 to P10,000, a mere 5 percent of the 3,000 to 4,000 dollars monthly pay abroad. He also noted that other nurses, particularly those from private hospitals and clinics, receive even less because their salary would depend on the income of the hospital or clinic.

Angara also noted that although the country has been producing a surplus of nurses since the 1960s, the large exodus of nurses in the last four years has been unparalleled in the nursing migration history. For instance, Angara said, about 10,000 Filipino nurses were directly hired by US-based hospitals in 2001, basing from figures of the International Union of Nurses.

Such a trend of increasing health human resource outflows to other countries, without corresponding incentives to the brave few who chose to stay, will eventually bled the country dry of nurses, Angara said.

To give further credit to health workers, Angara also called for the establishment of Health Workers Day on every 7TH of May. He noted that there had been efforts to commemorate Health Workers Day; however, they are virtually non-existent to date.

It is hoped that the annual public observance of the Health Workers Day will draw awareness to the plight of our health sector and consequently underscore the States responsibility to allot sufficient budget prioritizing health and to improve the living and working conditions of our health workers, Angara said.

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