Nurses group calls for mass hiring of nurses amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) – A group of nurses has appealed to the Department of Health to hire nurses in large numbers amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Filipino Nurses United Secretary General Jocelyn Andamo said on Thursday the nurses will be fairly compensated and provided with benefits if they are regularized by the Health Department.

Nurses and other medical professionals are currently being recruited by the DOH as volunteers who are paid an allowance of ₱500 a day.

Ang aming kahilingan, maemploy ang nurses as regular na government workers para mabigyan sila ng makatuwirang sahod, sapat na benepisyo, at siguradong may proteksyon sila na sila ay magkakasakit,” said Andamo in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Pinky Webb.

[Translation: Our request is to employ nurses as regular government workers to provide them with reasonable wages, adequate benefits, and ensure that they are protected from sickness.]

Andamo elaborated there is no security of tenure with the volunteer nurses, as they are paid only ₱500 per day for their service.

When the nurses are regularized, a Nurse 1 or the entry level government nurse, gets a salary of ₱30,500 a month.

“Wholeheartedly, our nurses are there in the field. Naglilingkod sa ating mga kababayan,” added Andamo.

[Translation: Wholeheartedly, our nurses are there in the field and serving our countrymen.]

Last March 28, the DOH apologized for the low compensation given to volunteer nurses for the COVID-19 crisis and promised they will allocate more funds for them.

RELATED: DOH apologizes for COVID-19 volunteer health professionals’ P500 daily allowance

The mass hiring of nurses will also benefit hospitals and other health centers in the countryside to solve the health needs in far-flung communities, the nurses' group said.

The group also dissented in the DOH’s order for the volunteer nurses to sign a waiver absolving the agency of any liability when they contract the disease that has affected 5,453 people and claimed 349 lives in the country.

Andamo said the DOH acknowledged the appeal they sent to the department and are awaiting for the agency’s response to them.