Press Release
September 11, 2020

De Lima decries gov'ts apathy towards medical frontliners

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has joined the longstanding call for better treatment of medical frontliners in the country amid the continued apathy, if not hostility, of the government towards them.

De Lima made the statement after a recent study by data aggregator iPrice Group revealed a glaring wage gap for nurses and medical technologists in the ASEAN region, with both receiving the lowest salary in Southeast Asia.

"While the results are absolutely heartbreaking, is it really that surprising given the way the Duterte administration has forged ahead with baffling policies aimed at making life that much harder for medical workers? The President cannot deny that he told nurses to just join the police force so they can earn higher wages for their selfless services," she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 905.

"Pandemic or not, I join the call for the better treatment of our medical workers who deserve so much better," she added.

Data from iPrice Group, which recorded the salaries of mid-level front-liners in seven ASEAN countries, showed that both nurses and medical technologists in the Philippines earned the lowest compared to any of their counterparts in neighboring ASEAN countries by at least 50%. (https://iprice.ph/trends/insights/filipino-frontliners-earn-least-compared-asean-peers-data-shows/?nocache=1)

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said the data highlights the struggle and sad reality of being a medical worker under the Duterte administration.

"Matagal na nating alam na walang malasakit ang administrasyong Duterte sa mga medical workers at frontliners na nagbubuwis ng buhay at itinataya ang kalusugan upang malabanan ang pandemyang ito. Patunay ang datos na ito sa hindi maikakailang katotohanan ng kalagayan ng mga nurses at medical technologists sa bansa," she said.

Dismayed, De Lima further recalled several instances where the present administration failed to lead the fight to uplift the standing of medical workers nationwide.

"In the last few months, the government revealed its apathy - and at times hostility - towards our medical frontliners. They offered a measly ₱500/day to entice volunteer medical workers during the early stages of the pandemic response, aggravated by the delayed release of it for months now," she recalled.

"They also banned the deployment of medical workers employed overseas and essentially tried to guilt them into service by falsely appealing to their sense of nationalism. Duterte even dared them to stage a 'revolution', so he could strike back with a 'counter-revolution,' she added.

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