MANILA, Philippines – Government doctors should be paid almost twice their current salary.
This is what the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganization said in its committee report submitted on December 7, 2016.
The report, with consolidated Senate Bill 1268, seeks to increase the minimum monthly salary of public doctors from the current P28,417 (Salary Grade 16) to P56,610 (Salary Grade 24) to prevent them from leaving the country.
The bill is sponsored by Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Francis Pangilinan, Loren Legarda, and Risa Hontiveros.
Trillanes said the proposal seeks to stop the exodus of Filipino doctors abroad – some of whom, he said, even gave up their licenses to become nurses in other countries.
In 2014, the Department of Health (DOH) estimated that the Philippines had only 3.5 doctors for every 10,000 people. Government doctor to patient ratio, meanwhile, was at 3 to 100,000. (READ: Where are the health workers?)
The ideal ratio should be 1 to 1.5 doctors for every 1,000 population.
“This outflow of doctors, which has resulted in an alarming ratio of 1 doctor to 1,429 Filipinos, could get worse if we do not provide them better working conditions, and decent pay and benefits commensurate to their qualification,” the senator said.
Allowances, other benefits
Aside from an increase in salary, doctors would also be paid several allowances if the measure is passed into law.
Government physicians who have rendered at least 3 years of service will be given an “annual loyalty pay” amounting to 75% of their prevailing one-month base pay.
All public doctors assigned to isolated, depressed, or conflict-torn areas would also be entitled to the following monthly allowances:
On top of these, those who have rendered at least 5 years of continuous service in government shall be entitled to an educational grant, with maximum amount of P250,000 for any medical course or training here or abroad.
In turn, doctors who avail of such grant are mandated to return to service at any public hospital for a period to be determined by the DOH.
The measure is now ready for plenary debates in the Senate, after which it would be up for approval on 2nd reading before it gets the final nod of the chamber.
But it faces a slower pace in the House of Representatives, as similar bills remain pending in the committee on appropriations chaired by administration ally, Davao 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org