Press Release
June 12, 2023

More innovations needed to address exodus of Filipino nurses, Tolentino tells new DOH chief

MANILA - Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino urged the new leadership of the Department of Health (DOH) to lay down fresh innovations that would encourage Filipino nurses to remain in the country.

"Papaano kaya natin ito, kagaya ng sinabi niyo, ma-enganyo na huwag munang umalis, dito muna? May plano ba sa susunod na budget cycle ang DOH mag propose ng mga upgrades para hindi na po sila mag-alisan muna sa ating bansa?" Tolentino asked Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa, who was the main guest during the senator's weekly radio program on DZRH.

"Papaano natin ma-enganyo ang ating mga kababayang nurses na gusto natin matulungang huwag muna umalis sa Pilipinas?" Tolentino added.

According to Tolentino, the main problem hounding the local nursing industry has always been the issue of their compensation, whether they are working in the government or in private medical facilities, regardless.

He said there really is a wide gap between salaries of nurses here and those in medical facilities overseas, and that's why most of them have no choice but to seek greener pastures abroad or, worse, seek a different career path.

For his part, Herbosa agreed with Tolentino's observation, saying that he is currently in talks with the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) to somehow relax the licensing rules to allow the employment of nurses in government health facilities, especially the fresh graduates.

"Ang problema, ang Civil Service natin allows only licensed nurse to work in the health sector in the government. Actually, nakausap ko na ang PRC. Kinausap ko na mabigyan ng temporary license for three years if they have graduated nursing to work in the government. Sa gobyerno lang muna tayo kasi mahirap kung palawakin natin sa private at baka doon naman sa private pumunta. So, if you're going to go to government and work in a place na malayo, walang nurse, i-allow ka ng PRC since you are a four-year graduate," Herbosa stressed.

Tolentino last October filed Senate Bill No. 1447 or the proposed "Philippine Nursing Practice Act of 2022." The proposed legislation basically aims to increase the ranks of better-trained, better-compensated, and better-appreciated nurses.

The senator noted that providing local nurses with better compensation and training will play a vital role in achieving a more efficient access to Universal Health Care for every Filipino.

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