Recognizing the role medical technologists play in the global health crisis, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Sunday vowed to push for policies that will augment and strengthen the national health workforce.
In a speech at the 57th Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) Annual Convention held virtually from 1 to 4 December, Go expressed gratitude to the medical technologists and other health workers who continue to serve bravely on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“Your role in the health crisis is very critical. We cannot thank you enough, Go said while noting the sheer number of Covid-19 tests that medical technologists have to conduct on a daily basis.”
The lawmaker, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, commended PAMET for its efforts to raise the standards and visibility of clinical laboratory science in the country.
To address this shortage, Go had earlier successfully pushed for the inclusion of all frontline personnel of the Professional Regulation Commission and board examiners in the A4 priority group of the Covid-19 vaccination program, without prejudice to the previously identified priority sectors.
The senator reaffirmed his commitment to push for the passage of Senate Bill 2421 which will provide health workers with a fixed monthly Covid-19 Risk Allowance for the duration of the current State of Emergency in lieu of the special risk allowance and other financial compensation granted under the Bayanihan 2.
The bill, which Go authored and co-sponsored in the Senate, specifically seeks to give all health workers deployed in “high-risk areas” a monthly allowance of P9,000 while those in “medium-risk areas” and “low-risk areas” will be provided P6,000 and P3,000, respectively.
The senator promised to ensure that the Department of Health has sufficient funds in 2022 for the continuous provision of said allowances and the implementation of President Duterte’s directive that increased the salary grade of Nurse II positions from SG 15 to SG 16.
Given the crucial role of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, Go pledged to back additional funds for the institute, which was the pioneer Covid-19 testing facility in the country.
The senator reminded all sick and injured health workers to avail of the services of the Malasakit Centers. The center aims to reduce a patient’s hospital bill to the lowest possible amount by covering various patient services and expenses through existing medical assistance programs. There are currently 149 Malasakit Centers nationwide.
The former presidential aide went on to recognize the string of promising developments on the vaccine front in recent weeks and called on PAMET’s local chapters to support the government’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign to help the country achieve herd immunity.
The Philippines has so far obtained an estimated 146 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, 90.6 million of which have been successfully administered as of 3 December. There are currently 37.6 million fully vaccinated Filipinos while another 52.6 million have received their first dose.