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Doctors’ group raises alarm on possible job loss for 10K workers

HEALTH workers, including doctors, midwives, and nurses deliver medical services in the coastal towns of San Policarpio and Arteche in Eastern Samar on Nov. 15-16. — DOH-EASTERN VISAYAS

A GROUP of doctors who previously served under the government’s rural deployment program raised concern on Tuesday over the potential job losses of more than 10,000 health workers if local governments cannot sustain the Department of Health’s (DoH)  human resource program.

In a statement, Doctors to the Barrios Batch 28 said the government should ensure the Philippines has enough healthcare personnel as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the country.

“We seek the plans of the DoH in ensuring that our colleagues will continue to have financial security through employment as intended in its devolution transition plan,” it said.

The group called on the DoH to ensure that local governments create permanent positions for workers who are under the department’s Human Resources for Health (HRH) program to secure their tenure.

DoH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario S. Vergeire did not immediately respond to a Viber message seeking comment.

The HRH is the agency’s program for deploying manpower to far-flung and remote communities that have inadequate health personnel.

Following the Mandanas-Garcia Supreme Court ruling, which gives local governments a bigger share in national taxes, the National Government will be transferring some of its functions to local units such as the DoH’s  function of hiring healthcare workers.

The Doctors to the Barrios noted that a higher budget for local governments would be futile if they do not have the capability to manage the added responsibilities.

They also said the coronavirus pandemic caused a decrease in national tax collection, which means a lower budget allocated to local governments by 14%.

“In short of this, we ask the DoH to continue the employment of all allied health professionals, especially during this time in which LGUs (local government units) face financial difficulties brought about by the coronavirus 2019 pandemic,” the group said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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