Monday, July 14, 2014

Health Workers, holDAPed: Overworked, Underpaid Health Workers disgusted over PNoy’s DAP

July  14, 2014

Bong Bulanadi, Tondo Medical Center Employees Association Vice President, 522-92-46
Gary Liberal, Jose Reyes Medical Center operating room nurse, Mobile No.09183104698
Jossel I Ebesate, AHW National President, Mobile No. 0918 927 6381

Public health workers hold a protest rally today, July 14 in front of the Department of Health (DOH) to condemn the department and the Aquino government for continuously neglecting government hospitals. Health workers, particularly nurses are growing tired of the government's failure to address the chronic understaffing in most government hospitals.

According to Mr. Bong Bulanadi, Tondo Medical Center Employees Vice President, "in Tondo Medical Center, nurses are obliged to go on 16-24 hours duty and nurse to patient ratio is 1:40-45 per shift, a severe understaffed working condition.  This is far from the Department of Health standard of nurse-patient ratio which is 1:12. In addition, salaries remain below the poverty threshold, while on the other hand, it frustrates us when we learn that the Aquino government is squandering billions in government money through Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)."  He reiterated that the P157 Billion wasted on DAP is more than enough to address the chronic understaffed working condition in public hospitals.  “How can a nurse provide quality service to patients with this inhuman and degrading  condition?”, he added.

Aside from understaffed situation health workers also express their vehement opposition to the continuing privatization of government health facilities. “Health workers can not simply be bought by government's shallow reasoning that it can not afford to fund the improvement of the critical capacity of government health facilities without the infusion of private capital through Public-Private Partnership/privatization,”Jossel Ebesate, AHW president emphasized.  If government can unscrupulously spend billions from the said DAP fund, that money could have tripled the annual funding of all government health facilities, supplies and medicines which is sufficient enough to provide affordable or even free quality services to the people.

           Health workers feel that the current government is useless in addressing the people's health needs. They are calling for the resignation of Health Secretary Ona for his obvious failure to resolve the perennial health problems of the people and his pro-privatization stand. They also support the ouster of President Aquino and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad for the lack of moral ascendancy to govern after their involvement in a billion peso DAP controversy and failure to resolve the rampant corruption in the government. According to Gary Liberal, Jose Reyes Medical Center nurse, "While billions of pesos have been wasted in bureaucratic corruption, millions of lives have been sacrificed needlessly due to lack of basic services". ###

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Health Workers breach Malacanang security, hold protest against low salaries, benefits and privatization

May 20, 2014


Ely Estropigan, All-UP Workers’ Union-UP-PGH President
Mobile no: 0921-4668183
Robert Mendoza, AHW Secretary-General
Mobile No.  0921-2073631

Around 40 health workers from different hospitals stormed Malacanang today amidst strict security in the vicinity.

Mostly wearing white gowns and hospital uniforms, the protesters composed of nurses, doctors and other health personnel waved banners and placards and chanted calls for salary increase and adequate health budget in front of Vargas Gate.

“We have had enough! Our patience and hopes have run out! The Aquino administration is never a government for the poor! He has done nothing to alleviate our suffering and is doing everything to privatize our hospitals!”said Ely Estropigan, president of All-UP Workers Union-UP-PGH Chapter.

Health workers claimed that President Benigno Aquino III failed the Filipino people by privatizing Philippine Orthopedic Center and other public hospitals, and attacking job security through streamlining, retrenchment and contractualization.

The protesters said that worse than the previous administrations, Aquino administration had not given any salary increase. Instead of providing for mandated Magna Carta benefits, it sowed intrigues and disunity among health workers through controversial Productivity-Based Bonus (PBB) and “high-risk-low risk” classification in hazard pay provision.

Police security officers and non-uniformed men forcibly pushed the protesters towards Chino Roces bridge. Malacanang security PO1 JS Aguilar under the command of P/Supt FM Opellano tried to seize Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) secretary-general Robert Mendoza even if the protesters were already at Mendiola.

A health student who joined the protest, Mark Neri, sustained abrasions in left hand.

“What kind of “protectors” will hurt and try to abduct us health workers who are saving peoples’ lives? What kind of government will hit female health workers with shields when we are just exercising our right to assemble and freedom of expression? They are protecting corrupt officials and Napoles, but not the Filipino people!” cried Mendoza.

The health workers peacefully dispersed after the program in Mendiola. #

Monday, May 12, 2014

Nurses unite! Struggle for rights and people’s right to health!

May 12, 2014

Reference: Jossel I Ebesate
AHW National President
Mobile No. 0918 927 6381

Today, on the occasion of International Nurses’ Day, the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) -Philippines express our solidarity with the Filipino nurses and all nurses in the world who continue to offer their skills and knowledge in service of the people and stand up for people’s right to health amidst worsening economic and political crises and attacks on our rights.
As the national organization of health workers in the Philippines, we in AHW share the nurses’ dream of a united nurses and health care workers dedicated to providing services to those who need these most. We are one with the nurses and the people in our vision of a healthy society where the people and health workers are empowered and can contribute to health and development.
But we see that the people’s health situation is worsening as people’s health and interests are sacrificed in the name of profit and business interests.  We witness the suffering and deaths of many people who are impoverished, could not afford the increasing cost of public and private health care, and deprived of basic needs while those in power steal public funds, grab people’s lands and play puppet to foreign dictates. 
At the same time, we ourselves suffer from violation of our rights to jobs, living wage, benefits, and unionize. For instance, our fellow nurses in Tondo Medical Center go on duty for 16-32 hours. Nurses in government hospitals get a pay of P 18,549/month (Salary Grade 11), below the mandated Salary Grade 15 in Nursing Act of 2002 and way below the P30,000/month minimum cost of living in the NCR. Nurses in private hospitals and institutions suffer more with P6,000-P10,000 entry level monthly wages, without hazard pay and no job security. 
We realize that our commitment to serve the people is never easy when the situation that breeds poverty and ill-health continues to exist. We cannot fully save lives when lack of personnel, supplies, equipment and facilities, and poor governance ail our public health care system.   We cannot provide adequate and quality health services when our ranks need deliverance from chronic understaffing, contractualization, low and subhuman wages, poor working conditions, harassments and violation of rights. We cannot dream of better health for the people as long as the government privatizes public hospitals and health care, takes away whatever little free services the poor people receive and threatens to dislocate the poor patients and health workers.
We see that our duty to serve the people goes beyond learning the most advanced technologies and equipment in health care or reaching unreachable health statistics targets. As nurses of the people, we are duty-bound to work with the people, start where they are, uphold their interests alongside with our interests, and stand up for rights and justice.  Our duty brings us on the side of our patients and the people against threats to health and our rights, like privatization, fee for service, contractualization and streamlining, wage freeze, unreasonable power and water rates hike.  Our duty necessitates that we struggle together with our patients and the people for free, affordable, and accessible health care towards a society freed from local and foreign domination, oppression and exploitation.

This day and the days and years to come, we call on all Filipino nurses to serve the people and uphold our rights and people’s right to health, like Florence Nightingale and our own Filipino nurse-heroes like Nazaria Lagos (1851-1945), Minda Luz Quesada (1937-1995), and Mary Vita Jackson, who served the people and fellow health care workers inspite of risks and hardships. Let us stand up, unite with fellow health workers and the Filipino people, and together work for genuine societal change. # 

Monday, May 05, 2014

Mayo 7: Singilin ang Pamahalaang Aquino, Ipagpatuloy ang 30 taong pakikibaka para sa Kalusugan at Karapatan!

Pambansang Araw ng mga Manggagawang Pangkalusugan ngayon. Kasabay ng paggunita sa mga tagumpay at aral sa 30 taong pakikibaka ng Alliance of Health Workers,  papanagutin natin ang Pamahalaang Aquino sa patuloy na pag-abandona sa kalusugan ng mamamayan at karapatan ng manggagawang pangkalusugan!

Itaguyod natin at ipaglaban ang mga tagumpay sa loob ng 30 taong pakikibaka ng AHW mula nang itatag ito noong 1984. Sa pamamagitan ng sama-samang pagkilos, naipagtagumpay natin ang:
Ø  Dagdag na sweldo mula pa 1980’s, ngunit nananatiling kakarampot at di nakabubuhay ang sweldong ibinibigay ng Pamahalaang Aquino;
Ø  Pagsasabatas ng Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (RA 7305) na batayan ng mga benepisyong hazard pay, subsistence allowance, laundry pay, longevity allowance; bagamat paulit-ulit itong binabawi ng pamahalaan, sa pinakahuli sa klasipikasyong high risk-low risk sa pamamagitan ng DBM-DOH Joint Circular No 1; 
Ø  Pagpapatalsik sa kurakot, kontra-manggagawa at kontra-pasyenteng mga hospital direktor noong 1980’s hanggang 1990’s;
Ø  Paglaban sa tanggalan/streamlining – sa dalawang pagkakataon ng reorganissyon/tanggalan, nagawang mapanatili ang ilang daang libong mga posisyon at naisabatas ang RA 6655 na nagseseguro sa security of tenure ng mga kawani sa pamahalaan. Pero tinutuloy ng Pamahalaang Aquino ang streamlining tungo sa kontraktwalisasyon sa pammaagitan ng EO 366 /Rationalization Plan na basehan ng New Organizational Structure and Staffing Pattern sa mga pampublikong ospital;
Ø  Paglaban sa pribatisasyon ng mga pampublikong ospital  – tagumpay na napatigil noong 1997 ngunit walang habas na itinutuloy muli ni Panguong Aquino sa PPP ng Philippine Orthopedic Hospital at 72 hospitals sa buong bansa, korporatsoasyon at iba pang porma; at
Ø  Pagtataguyod sa karapatan sa pag-uunyon, Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA), pagpapahayag at paglulunsad ng kilos-protesta.

Walang makabuluhang napagbabago sa kalagayan ng mga manggagagawang pangkalusugan at mamamayan sa ilalim ng Administrasyong Aquino. Nagpapalit-palit ang mga pangulo ngunit kagaya ng mga naunang rehimen, itinutuloy ng Pamahalaang Aquino ang  kontra-mamamayan at kontra-manggagawang polisiyang papaliit na badyet para sa kagalingan ng mamamayan, streamlining at kontraktwalisasyon, pribatisasyon, mababang sahod at kulang na benepisyo.

Pinatunayan ng Pamahalaang Aquino ang pagiging sunud-sunuran sa dikta ng panginoong maylupa, burgesya komprador at monopolyo kapitalistang Estados Unidos. Tanging mga local at dayuhang burgesya at monopolyo kapitalista ang nakikinabang sa programang Kalusugang Pangkalahatan na nakapadron sa Obama Care. Sa Two-tiered Wage System lalong ipapako sa napakababang sahod ang mga manggagawa samantalang wala ni singkong dagadag sa sweldo na ibingay ang administrasyong Aquino sa mga kawani ng pamahalaan at manggagawang pangkalusugan.  Nitong Abril pinagkasunduan ni Pangulong Aquino at US President Barrack Obama ang Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) na magbabalik sa base-militar ng Estados Unidos sa bansa, sa kabila ng pagtututol ng mamamayan batay sa unconstitutionality, mapait na mga karanasan ng paglabag sa karapatan ng tropang Amerikano, at pagyurak sa soberanya ng bansa.

Walang ibang pagpipilian ang manggagawang pangkalusugan at mamamayan kundi palakasin ang hanay at ipagpatuloy ang laban para sa ating karapatan bilang manggagawang pangkalusugan at karapatan ng mamamayan sa kalusugan. Tanging sa sama-samang pagkilos lamang natin malalabanan ang kontra-mamamayang polisiya at maitatayo ang isang sistemang pangkalusugang tunay na  magsisilbi sa mamamayan at manggagawang pangkalusugan.

Singilin ang Pamahalaang Aquino sa pag-abandona sa kanyang responsibilidad sa mamamayan at  mga manggagawang pangkalusugan!

Ipagpatuloy  ang 30 taong pakikibaka ng mga manggagawang pangkalusugan para pang-ekonomiya, demokratiko at pampulitikang karapatan at kalusugan ng mamamayan!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Health workers, patients, seek high court intervention to stop privatization of Orthopedic Hospital

February 3, 2014

References: Sean Herbert Velchez, RN, NOHWU-AHW President, 0949-9775037
Jossel Ebesate, RN, AHW National President, 0918-9276381      
Health workers, patients and people's health advocates from Philippine Orthopedic Center and other hospitals and institutions filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition today in the Supreme Court in a bid to stop the privatization of the only government orthopedic hospital in the country.

"President Benigno Aquino IIII and Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona are deaf to the peoples' clamor to stop privatization. We hope the Supreme Court justices will have the heart and mind to listen and consider the people's health and welfare," said Sean Velchez, president of National Orthopedic Hospital Workers' Union - Alliance of Health Workers (NOHWU-AHW), and one of the petitioners in the case.

The petitioners raised the questions of constitutionality, procedural concerns and negative effects to poor patients and health workers of the privatization of POC.

“This is a fight not only by POC health workers and patients but by the entire Filipino people. This is a fight for our right to health,” said Jossel Ebesate, national president of Alliance of Health Workers and a chief nurse in the Philippine General Hospital.

Atty. Edre Olalia, chief legal counsel for the petitioners and secretary-general of the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) said that it is high time that people's health be taken up as a demandable right in our justice system. The counsels took inspiration from retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno's statement in July that socio-economic rights like housing and health are justiciable rights.

Aside from Velchez and Ebesate, the petitioners also include, among others, patients from POC,  Dr. Amelia Maglacas, former World Health Organization (WHO) nurse-scientist,  Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna PartyList, Representative Terry Ridon of Kabataan PartyList, Dr. Fresco Yapendon of Philippine Association of Medical Specialists, Dr. Joseph Carabeo of Community Medicine Development Foundation, and Eleanor Nolasco of Nars ng Bayan.

The group vowed to continue their protest against the privatization of POC and other public hospitals and health services. #