Press Release
February 13, 2017


MANILA - Congress should prioritize passing laws that focus on saving lives, instead of killing people, said Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan Monday, after the signing and approval of the committee report on consolidated Senate Bill 1268 or the Government Doctors' Salary Upgrading Act of 2017.

"Some of the priority bills of Congress trample on an individual's right to life, such as the death penalty bill, and the rights of a child with its proposal to lower the age of criminal liability. We urge Congress to instead focus on bills that aim to save lives," said Pangilinan, principal author of Senate Bill 1628 which seeks to raise the minimum salary of government doctors from Salary Grade 16 (Php28,417) to Salary Grade 24 (Php56,610).

Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Risa Hontiveros, and Loren Legarda filed similar bills heard by the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization, and Professional Regulation.

"Only ten percent of Filipinos in rural areas benefit from medical professionals. We hope that this measure will encourage our doctors to serve their communities instead," said the Liberal Party president.

According to the World Health Organization, 22,000 health professionals leave the Philippines every year to work overseas.

"There are better earning opportunities abroad. The same can be said of our OFWs. If Congress focuses on improving other sectors, particularly the labor sector, many of our people would be empowered. They will not resort to crimes to better their lives. Improving the labor sector can help eradicate the cycle of poverty. This is a better deterrent against criminality. Increasing the salary of government doctors is just the first of the many steps we have to take in improving the labor sector in the country," the senator said.

Pangilinan earlier filed Senate Bill 59 seeking to grant civil service eligibility to casual and contractual government employees who have been in continuous and efficient service for five years.

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