Friday, October 01, 2010

Justice for Nurse-rape victim, Justice for All Nurses & Health Workers

Alliance of Health Workers
October 1, 2010

Reference: Mr. Jossel I. Ebesate, RN
Mobile No: 09189276381

We, nurses and health workers from different hospitals and health institutions nationwide, condemn the rape of Florence, a nurse in South Upi, Maguindanao. We call for immediate and swift justice for the nurse rape victim. We call for justice for all nurses and health workers.

It is indeed commendable that she chose to serve in rural area where nurses are needed most. In taking the road less taken, she became a victim of a crime and injustice.

Like Florence, many nurses and health workers endure injustice under the present situation. After painstaking years of studying nursing and passing the licensure examination, many nurses end up as job-orders or contractual, without benefits and with pay below that of a nurse with plantilla. Worse many nurses become volunteers, without salaries and even paying the hospital for the supposed “training” and “experience”. This is not what a licensed nurse should endure.

Nurses and other health workers employed as regular employees receive low salaries, inadequate benefits, if any at all, and suffer from understaffing, inhumane conditions at work, and repression.

Those health workers who chose to stay to serve the people are even illegally arrested for trumped-up charges, just like the case of Morong 43.

This is not what should happen to those who serve the people.

Because of these, nurses and other health workers are not encouraged to stay in the country, much more work in the rural areas.

We see that the government is remiss in two counts. First it failed to ensure the safety of nurses and other health care providers, be in rural or urban areas. Second, and more importantly, the government lends deaf ear to calls to provide adequate jobs, salaries, benefits and better working conditions to all health workers. The Department of Labor’s Nurses Assigned to Rural Areas (NARS) program, which Florence participated in, did not give permanent job and adequate remuneration for nurses. Six months of work, with allowance below that received by a plantilla- holder nurse in a government hospital, is not fair and just.

The Filipino patients in the end suffer from inadequate staff and health services.

We call for swift justice for the nurse rape victim. We hope that impartial investigation and trial will convict the wrong-doers.

We call for justice for all nurses and health workers. We call for adequate jobs, salaries, benefits and better working conditions for all health workers who have heroically decided to stay in the country and serve the Filipino people. We call on the government to release the 43 health workers and protect the welfare, rights and safety of all health care providers. This will redound to better services to the people. #

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