Press Release
September 26, 2006

On National Medicine Week

Pushes for higher salaries, better benefits and working condition

Senate President Manny Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party, joins the entire medical profession as it celebrates National Medicine Week (from September 24 to 30) and urges legislators to support bills that would make the salaries and benefits of Filipino doctors at par with other countries.

Earlier, Villar has called for a review of the salaries of government doctors, nurses, barangay health workers and other medical practitioners to make it more competitive with those given in foreign countries to help curb the mass exodus of doctors and nurses.

Based on statistics from the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), from 2000 to 2003, a total of 51,580 Filipino nurses left the country and around 5,000 doctors followed suit in 2004.

To make the situation worst, it is reported that around 80 percent of government doctors are now enrolled in nursing schools nationwide so they can get higher-paying jobs as nurses overseas. As this develops, the doctor-patient ratio in the country continue to worsen at one doctor per 28,643 patients as of 2003, compared to the US and Cuba with one doctor for every 225 patients.

According to Villar, These statistics is a cause for concern already. It was also reported that one out of every five Filipino doctors are working as nurses abroad. I believe that the only reason why these qualified doctors would rather work as nurses abroad is because of the higher pay there.

Villar cites that doctors who work as nurses in the US earn 16 times more than government doctors here or over P200,000 a month and nurses working in Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom earn salary of anywhere between P40,000 and P120,000 or even more.

Acknowledging the gravity of the problem posed by the exodus of medical professionals, Malacañang through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that it would spend around P43 billion a year in the next four years to boost the salary scale of government doctors and nurses.

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