Monday, October 11, 2004

Salaries of Public Health Workers: Rice and Salt Subsistence

October 11, 2004

Telephone No: 404-3721
Mobile Phone No: 09189276381

After going bald in thinking of means to make both ends meet amidst the ever-increasing prices of goods, now comes the reality of Public Health Workers’ nearing to a hand-to-mouth existence.

Health Workers of the country’s largest state hospital, again launched today a picket rally with noise barrage in front of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to emphasize the urgency of their call for a P3,000.00 across the board salary increase for all government employees. This is, following another round of increases in the prices of oil, transport fares, and electricity rates. To further dramatize the worsening economic plight of the Public Health Workers, who have chosen to remain in the country, the protesting PGH Health Workers eat their lunch consisting of rice and salt at the PGH Flagpole Stage. The increase in electricity rates starting on October billing was particularly worrisome to the protesting Public Health Workers because aside from the increase of 28.52 centavos per kilowatt-hour for residential consumer of more than 100 kWh a month; government hospitals will also pay an additional 43.56 centavos per kWh.

The activity held during lunch break (12:00 – 1:00 PM) was again spearheaded by the All U.P. Workers Union, Manila Chapter.

“The elimination of cross-subsidy on government hospital will translate to an average of about P1 million in additional cost per month to PGH, further depleting the already lacking budget allocation for patient services,” says Mr. Jossel Ebesate the Union’s Chapter President. “The monthly take home pay now of most of our Public Health Workers drived us on a rice and salt subsistence, it is already an ominous sign to MalacaƱang and the ruling elite!” added, Mr. Ebesate.

The increase of 28.52 per kWh for individual household translates to a minimum of P30 additional expense per month on electric bill alone. The added expense adds up to the monthly poverty threshold in the NCR of P16,862.00 (February 2004/NSCB). In contrast, the gross monthly salary of a PGH Utility Worker I (SG1) is just P5,082.00, Nursing Attendant II or Clerk III (SG6) is P7,606, Nurse I (SG10) is P9,939.00, while that of a Medical Officer III (SG18) is P15,831.00, still below the poverty threshold.

Aside from the All U.P. Workers Union, the said activity was supported by the All U.P. Academic Employees’ Union, the PGH Physicians’ Association, the Utility Workers Association of PGH and the Alliance of Health Workers. ###

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