Protect and properly compensate: Senatorial aspirants push for better treatment of healthcare workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 23) — Aspirants for senatorial seats in the coming polls say they want more for the country's healthcare workers -- not just monetary compensation, but also enough rest to make sure they can take on the challenges of the pandemic.

Former Senator JV Ejercito, Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero and Senator Richard Gordon, who took part in CNN Philippines' second Senatorial forum on Sunday, were one in saying that the country's healthcare workers deserve better.

Include temporary, contractual workers

Escudero said existing laws cover only permanent healthcare workers and employees.

"Kung may batas na gagawin, dapat isaklaw o isama ang temporary, job order, at contractual workers dahil sa totoo pananaw ko, pareho lang ang ginagawang trabaho ng contractual, ng job order, at permanente," he said.

[Translation: If there is a law that should be made, it should cover temporary, job order and contractual workers because in my opinion, they do the same work.]

The governor said the country has been left behind by its Asian neighbors when it comes to wages for healthcare workers. He said this was the reason why so many have left to work overseas.

Escudero says proper recognition and compensation must be given to all health workers for their work and sacrifice, especially during the pandemic.

He also said he does not believe there are no funds availble to fund his proposal.

"Kung may pera para bumili ng ilang kagamitan na hindi kailangan, may pera din dapat sila para magbigay ng pagkilala't kumpensasyon sa tunay na naaasahan sa panahon ng pandemya," he said

[Translation: If there are funds to buy some unnecessary items, there should be funds to recognize and compensate those who can be relied upon during the pandemic.]

RELATED: Health group: One COVID-19 Allowance 'discriminatory'

Give them due allowances

Ejercito, on the other hand, said while the country may not be ale to pay its healthcare workers as well as other countries, proper PPE supplies, food, and transportation allowances should be provided to them.

The former senator said he could also see no reason why funds cannot be released to raise their salaries when it was done for uniformed personnel.

"Ngayon, sa giyerang ito ang ating foot soldiers ay ang health workers," he said.

[Translation: Now, in this war, health workers are our foot soldiers.]

They should be allowed sufficient rest

Senator Gordon, meanwhile, said it should not just be about pay — health care workers should be given enough rest to recover from the stresses of their jobs.

"Hindi dapat ibababad doon. Meron dapat tayong mga 'bubble' na kung saan nilalagay ang mga nurses na nagpapahinga para hindi sila lalabas. Kahit ilagay mo sila sa hotel, tinatamaan pa rin sila," he said.

[Translation: They should not stay long there. There should be "bubbles" where they can go and rest so they don't have to go out. They can still get infected even if they stay in hotels.]

He also stressed that funds must be given to those who need them the most.

Watch the CNN Philippines' second Senatorial Forum: