Malasakit and Bayahanihan party-list Rep. Anthony Rolando Golez Jr. has filed a bill in Congress mandating newly passed Filipino doctors and nurses to work in the country for a year before they could seek jobs abroad.
Golez Jr. filed House Bill No. 6232, also known as Mandatory Medical Service Bill, which seeks to address the shortage of healthcare workers in the Philippines.
“The Mandatory Medical Service Bill…is an innovative solution that would ensure newly passed physicians receive appropriate ranks, salaries and benefits while employed immediately. After the one-year medical service, medical practitioners may choose to continue serving in their respective areas or in any government hospital, health facility, or office as permanent employees of the Department of Health,” Golez said in a statement published in Sunstar.
Last year, the Department of Health said the country lacked around 106,000 nurses. The figure has since swelled to 350,000.
The lawmaker said that his bill will fill the gaps the current medical service system and “will bridge the divide between healthcare and underserved communities.”
The proposed legislation also seeks to encourage greater participation of physicians in the public health sector, particularly in areas where there is a dire need for medical services, he added.
The DOH previously said it was looking at an “incentive program” from other countries to help the local health sector address brain drain.
Less than half of Filipino nurses stay and work in the Philippines, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire has said, amid continued migration of healthcare workers to other countries.
In the Philippines, private hospitals pay their nurses between P9,000 and P15,000, the Philippine Nurses Association earlier said. Meanwhile, entry-level nurses in public hospitals start with a monthly salary of P33,000.
Last month, a group of nurses urged the government to raise the entry salary of nurses to P50,000 amid high inflation. [With reports from ABS-CBN, SunStar]