By: Roy Bersales
CONTRACTUALIZATION, or end of contract (endo), is definitely against the Labor Code of the Philippines, thus, government must stop endo.
However, the Department of Health (DOH) is set to fire close to 7,000 health workers due to lack of budget.
Sen. Ralph Recto, a Liberal Party (LP) stalwart, said the Congress should increase the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) for 2017 so that the close to 7,000 doctors, nurses, and dentists will be retained and subsequently regularized by the department.
Ending contractualization is one of the campaign promises of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
Thus, it is expected that all the government personnel, including the almost 6,000 doctors, nurses, and dentists should not be dismissed from the government service due to lack of funds.
Recto said Congress must “rescue thousands of Department of Health jobs in peril” by raising its budget for 2017.
The veteran lawmaker noted that thousands of nurses, doctor, and dentists will be dismissed from the government service before 2016 ends if Congress will not override the government’s plan to drastically downsize the number of frontline health personnel.
He argued that the Senate can explore many options in order “to save these jobs or at least cushion the effects of what amounts to be a mass retrenchment.”
He said for example, the Senate can infuse funds so that the 6,000 affected nurses alone would not be axed.
“We can also insert a provision in the national budget would state that the affected personnel should have first priority in being absorbed by other or new programs of the Rural Health Practice Program (RHPP),” he said, referring to the official name of the rural manpower assignment project.
Another option is to insert a “firewall” provision, exempting poor, distant towns from the personnel cuts, Recto said.
“We can insist that the status quo be maintained for 3rd class to 6th class towns,” he continued.
Recto said the “health workers who would be displaced should be accommodated in the above programs and their pay should be augmented by local counterpart. Kung hindi lahat ma-absorb, then Congress should fund the deficit.”