MANILA – Raising the minimum salary grade level of government doctors will encourage health professionals to work in public hospitals instead of seeking employment overseas, said Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Friday as he filed Senate Bill 57.
The bill or the Government Doctors’ Salary Upgrading Act which proposes to raise the minimum salary grade level of government doctors from Salary Grade 16 (P28,417 on first tranche) to Salary Grade 24 (P56,610 on first tranche).
“Naiintindihan natin ang pangangailangan ng ating mga doktor para sa mas mataas na sahod. Nakakalungkot isipin na karamihan sa kanila ay nagpasyang mangibang-bayan na lamang sa halip na ipagpatuloy ang kanilang propesyon dito sa ating bansa kung saan sila mas kailangan (We understand the need of our doctors for higher compensation. It is unfortunate that many of them choose to work abroad rather than continue their medical profession here in our country where they are most needed),” Pangilinan said.
“Umaasa tayo na sa tulong ng ating panukalang batas na magtataas ng salary grade ng ating mga government doctors, mas maraming mahihimok na magtrabaho sa mga pampublikong ospital at hindi na nila kailangan pang mangibang-bansa (We hope that through our proposed measure of raising our government doctors’ salary grade, more doctors will be encouraged to work in public hospitals and won’t have to seek for greener pastures abroad anymore,)” he said.
In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that around 22,000 health professionals leave the Philippines annually to work abroad.
Also, according to the International Organization for Migration, “the Philippines faces well in terms of the education and health components of human development index (HDI) but is less successful in the provision of decent income, a dimension that is inextricably linked to employment.”
Senate Bill 57 also aims to address the “brain drain” phenomenon that has been a perennial problem in the recent decades.
Of the 70 percent of Filipinos living in rural areas, only 10 percent benefit from the services of medical professionals.
“Ang ating mga kababayan sa probinsya, lalo na yung mga nakatira sa malalayong komunidad ay nangangailangan ng mas malaking access sa mga serbisyong pangkalusugan. Sila ang mas nangangailangan ng tulong mula sa ating mga doktor (Our rural folk especially those living in remote communities must have greater access to health services. They are the ones who need the most help from our doctors),” Pangilinan said.
The Government Doctors’ Upgrading Bill is part of Senator Pangilinan’s priority legislative agenda for the 17th Congress.