Some 900 nurses in Bicol Region working under the Nurse Deployment Project (NDP) of the Department of Health (DOH) have not received their salaries since November 2018.
NDP is one of the program under the DOH Human Resource for Health Deployment Program (HRHDP) which deploys nurses, medical technologists, midwives, dentists, physicians, pharmacists and other health workers to rural communities and local government units around the country.
In a letter sent to NDP nurses in Bicol, DOH regional office pointed to their limited notice cash allotment (NCA) and the lack of time in processing by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as the reasons for the delay of their salaries.
DOH-5 OIC Dr. Ernie Vera said that he has already talked to the nurses and apologized to them.
“Humihingi rin kami ng paumanhin sa kanila dahil talaga kahit ano ang gawin namin dito sa regional office kung wala ang support or funds coming from the central, wala rin kaming maibibigay.”
Vera promised that nurses will receive their compensation this January 2019.
Nurse advocacy group Ang Nars Partylist said that this situation of government nurses is ‘totally unacceptable’ and ‘the same issues have persisted through all of the government’s deployment programs over the years: N.A.R.S. in 2009, RN HEALS in 2011, and the NDP in 2014.’
“UP TO NOW, THERE IS NO CHANGE IN THE NURSES AND HEALTH WORKER’S CONDITION IN THE DOH, LOCAL GOVERNMENT and PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS! They do not support sustainable human development through generation of living wages, good working conditions, regular and permanent employment for our nurses and health workers,” said Leah Paquiz, Ang Nars President.
Paquiz also hit the delayed implementation of DOH HRHDP 2019 because this year’s national budget has not been approved yet. The proposed 2019 national budget is still undergoing refinement under the bicameral conference committee of Congress and is expected to be up for President’s signing middle of February.
“This condition slowly kills the hopes of our nurses and health workers for a better life and future,” she added.