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Over 300,000 PNA members are working abroad


Over 300,000 or more than half of the licensed nurses in the Philippines are currently employed overseas, the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) said Monday.

In Lei Alviz’s report on “24 Oras,” the latest Department of Health (DOH) data showed that of the 617, 898 registered and practicing nurses in the country, over 316,000 are employed abroad as of December 2021.

These figures, however,  increased in January 2022 after at least 2,000 more healthcare workers decided to go overseas, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

With these figures, the capacity of the hospitals especially during the times that there is an increase in the number of patients, according to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI).

"Maraming nurses talaga ang gusto mag abroad because of higher pay. Mahirap tapatan yung dollars na binibigay ng mga ibang countries," said PHAPI President Dr. Jose de Grano.

(A lot of nurses want to work overseas because of the higher pay. It is hard to compete with the dollars other countries are offering them.)

Among them is Alfie Maniti, who was supposed to work in a hospital in the United Kingdom a year ago but changed his mind at the last minute.

He said he turned his back on a job offer of P150,000 per month and went back to Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center in Pampanga where he was assigned to the COVID-19 vaccination and isolation facility.

His salary could have been a jump from the standard pay in the Philippines wherein government-employed nurses receive about P32,000 for starting salaries while those who are working in private facilities get between P9,000 and P14,000. Some private hospitals even pay nurses below minimum wage.

Asked on why he did not pursue the opportunity to work abroad Maniti said: “Dahil  sa working environment na sobrang nag-enjoy ako. And there's that sense of satisfaction and fulfillment sa pagtulong sa mga kapwa mo dito. Iba parin pag yung kapwa mo Pilipino yung pinaglilingkuran at tinutulungan mo.”

(It’s because of the working environment here which I genuinely enjoy. And there’s that sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in helping our fellow Filipinos. It’s really different when you are serving your countrymen.)

To mitigate the continuous migration of healthcare workers, the government is providing additional benefits and implementing policies that would drive more students to join the healthcare sector.

“What the government did was to provide additional incentives to our healthcare workers para naman manatili sila sa ating bansa at magkaroon at mabigyan ng serbisyo ang ating mga kababayan,” DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said.

(What the government did was to provide additional incentives to our healthcare workers so they will not go away and provide service to the public.)

“Tinitingnan din natin ang production ng ating healthcare workers kasi yung ating supply ngayon ay medyo mababa kaya kailangan mapataas natin ang generation natin of our own healthcare workers. So we're now incentivizing universities in different regions so that they can produce their own set of healthcare workers,” she said.

(We’re also looking at our production of healthcare workers because we have a low supply as of now. We need to increase it so now we’re incentivizing universities in different regions so that they can produce their own set of healthcare workers.)

For his part, Maniti called on the incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to provide them with benefits so they would not need to go abroad. -- Sundy Locus/BAP, GMA News

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