Filipino nurses are again calling on the national government for support amid their ongoing battle with COVID-19 in the Philippines this International Nurses Day (May 12), specifically in the aspect of proper compensation. 

President of Filipino Nurses United (FNU) Maristela Abenojar said nurses in public hospitals have been left ‘demoralized’ by delays in the release of their special risk allowance and active hazard pay. 

Due to this, a lot of workers are opting to resign from their positions as frontliners. 

“Bukod sa matinding kapaguran na dinaranas ng ating mga nurses, sila rin po ay demoralized na. Kaya po ang iba ay nakakaisip mag-resign, lumipat ng trabaho kasi po hindi po nila nararamdaman na mahalaga sila sa pamahalaan at sila ay binibigyan ng sapat na pagkalinga o suporta,” Abenojar told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo. 

Apart from these setbacks, nurses working in public hospitals have yet to receive a starting wage of Salary Grade 15 or 32,000 – a minimum for counterparts working in private hospitals.

The salary grade improvement was proposed in October of 2020 and was finalized in December of the same year. However, an alleged ‘mass demotion’ of government nurses occurred in the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) Budget Circular 2020-4.

According to Abenojar, some of her colleagues have been infected with COVID-19 on multiple occasions, however, the financial assistance promised by the government has yet to arrive. 

“‘Yung compensation . . . ay napakabagal po ng usad. Ang iba po ay 2 o 3 beses na nagka-COVID, ang compensation nu’ng first time silang nagka-COVID ay di pa rin natatanggap,” she stressed. 

Abenojar revealed that out of the 17,000 medical frontliners infected with COVID-19, 6,000 are nurses. 

On Tuesday (May 11), the Department of Health (DOH) recorded a daily increase of 4,734 COVID-19 infections. This brings the total number of active infections in the country to 56,752. 

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Image credit: Ezra Acayan via Getty Images