Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said he will submit a proposal to the Inter Agency Task Force to make the salaries of health workers in private hospitals on the same level as their counterparts in public health facilities.

12052020 SWABBINGSANJUA  ROMERO 9 1024x684 - Bello to propose pay parity among health workers in hospitals
(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I am going to present to the IATF (a) proposed increase in (the wages) of our nurses and medical workers in the private sector to the level of the nurses and medical workers in the public sector,” he said in an online forum Wednesday.

“Whatever will be the amount, as long as they are equal to those in the public sector since the hazards in their exercise of their profession are the same,” Bello added.

He said the issue on wage is one of the reasons why many of our nurses want to work abroad.

“One of the reasons why they are leaving is due to their starvation wages from hospitals. So you cannot blame them if they want to work abroad,” Bello said.

“They are practically constrained to work abroad because of the lack of appreciation of their profession here in the country,” he added.

Bello said he will submit the proposal to the IATF Thursday.

“Hopefully, the IATF will have it certified by the President,” he said.

On Tuesday, the local union affiliates of the Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW) welcomed the initiative of Bello III asking Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to call on Congress to pass a law that would raise the pay of health workers in the private sector.

In a statement, Tiffany Ong, union president of the Iloilo Mission Hospital Employees labor union,  said this is something that is “long overdue.”

“It is long overdue until this pandemic proves the essentiality of the health workers as frontliners in fighting the deadliest virus ever happened all over the world including our very own country,” she said.

“The private healthcare sectors have been ‘neglected’ for decades in terms of payment of salary and wages specifically the nursing sector,” added Ong.

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