MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has filed a bill seeking to increase the salary and additional incentives of government physicians to stop the “continuous exodus.”
“There has been continuous exodus of Filipino physicians abroad to seek better paying jobs,” Trillanes said. “Some even gave up their license to become nurses abroad.”
Senate Bill No. 526, filed on July 19, aims to placed the base pay of Filipino doctors to no lower than Salary Grade 27 or P73,937 ($1,586)*.
The minimum salary grade of physicians working in the government – Medical Officer I – is currently set at Salary Grade 16 or P28,417 ($609).
Aside from increasing the base pay, SB 526 also pushes for additional monthly allowances for transportation, representation, food, and medical needs.
Meanwhile, under the bill, physicians who have rendered 3 years of government service will also receive an annual loyalty service pay amounting to P50,000 ($1,073) while those who have rendered at least 5 years of service will be qualified for an educational grant.
Addressing the ‘continuous exodus’
The bill, according to Trillanes, aims to address the alarming rate of Filipino doctors going abroad to work due to low salary which leads to an low ratio of doctors to patients.
“Consistent with our aim of uplifting the welfare of our government workers through providing them with decent pay and benefits, we hope that this measure would also entice our doctors to practice in the country, especially in rural areas, and eventually improve the delivery of basic health services in the country,” he said.
In 2014, the Department of Health (DOH) estimated that the Philippines only had 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.
By improving the pay of Filipino government doctors, they then would be enticed to stay in the country.
“This outflow of doctors, which has resulted to an alarming ratio of one doctor to 1,429 Filipinos, could get worse if we do not provide them a better working condition, and decent pay and benefits commensurate their qualifications,” Trillanes said. – Rappler.com