The Philippines’ president has ordered that healthcare employees’ benefits be paid


Following nurses’ threats to resign and union strike warnings, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the health and budget ministries to arrange payment for healthcare employees who have not received their benefits on time.
Hospitals fear that the departure of medical personnel, notably nurses, has reached a tipping point, precisely as the Delta strain of the coronavirus, as it has everywhere in Southeast Asia and beyond, is sending infection cases surging.
Please make a payment to them. Mr Duterte instructed Health Minister Francisco Duque, who is facing allegations about more than US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) in Covid-19 spending, including non-payment of medical workers’ benefits, to “use whatever money there is.”
The directive came after union leaders in hospitals in viral hot spots threatened to strike last week. A nursing group claimed dozens of nurses could resign over unpaid risk allowances and hazard pay, putting additional strain on facilities already struggling with staffing shortages.
According to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, 40% of private hospital nurses quit last year, but more did so this year amid new outbreaks of infections. Public hospitals, too, are facing the same difficulties.
Mr Duterte also authorised the Department of Budget and Management 10 days to help pay unpaid benefits of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers in public and private institutions in a recorded speech aired on Saturday (Aug 21).


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