By Arjane Faith Paala

Photo courtesy by North Estonia Medical Center/Ted Aljibe

A group of Filipino nurses is calling for a raise in their monthly salary to P50,000, following New Zealand’s permanent residency offer to medical workers which they deem threatening to the Philippines’ healthcare system.

According to the Filipino Nurses United (FNU), the increasing amount of better job opportunities and working conditions from foreign countries will undoubtedly trigger the influx of nurse emigrants.

To prevent the foreseen crisis, the organization demands the government, apart from increasing their salary, to also mass hire additional 52,000 nurses in public health and in hospitals and to regularize contractual nurses.

“The Philippines has adequate nurses for our own people if only the government will
prioritize health care in the national budget and place the retention scheme of P50k living wage and ensure the promised benefits such as One COVID allowance [OCA] and Health Emergency Allowance [HEA],” FNU said.

Eligible public and private healthcare workers are set to receive an allowance amounting from P3,000 to P9,000 under OCA and HEA, but has been long delayed and neglected.

The FNU also noted the data released by the Department of Health (DOH) in December 2021 in which out of 617,898 licensed practicing nurses in the country, only 172,589 were locally employed, while 316,405 have left for abroad.

“With the increasing economic crisis of the Filipino families, the offer of residency in a country such as New Zealand will be truly enticing and an additional push factor for nurses to leave their nursing jobs,” they stressed.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promoted on December 12 their offer of immediate residency to overseas nurses and midwives due to the country’s insufficiency of medical workers.

Edited by Audrei Jeremy Mendador