By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.comMANILA – Leopoldo Merdanio, 40, is a registered nurse working at the San Lazaro Hospital. He is single but his P17,000 ($404) monthly salary is just enough for him, his mother and grandmother to be able to live and eat decent meals three times a day.
However, he is worried that as prices of basic commodities are soaring his monthly salary might not be enough to cover his family’s expenses.“We have long been calling for an increase but it falls on deaf ears. What’s worse is that the government is reducing our benefits,” Merdanio told Bulatlat.com.
Republic Act 10069 declares May 7 as National Health Workers Day “to give due recognition to the important role and contributions of the health workers who provide vital health services to our people and to promote their rights and welfare and enhance their sense of worth and dignity.”
However, Merdanio and hundreds of health workers gathered on May 7 this year not to celebrate but to cry out for justice as the government continues to deprive them of their rights and that of the people they serve as well. Health workers from different hospitals, clinics, agencies and institutions marched from España Avenue to Chino Roces Bridge (former Mendiola bridge).
“We cry out for an immediate relief from our comatose state – health workers are battered with low salaries, inadequate benefits, inhumane working conditions and lack of job security.
These are the results of the worsening crisis and aggravated by the continuing implementation of cost-cutting, privatization and contractualization policies of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III administration,” the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) said in a statement.
Health workers are demanding for a P6,000 ($142) increase in the salaries of the lowest salary grade in the sector. They are also demanding for an upgrade to salary grade 15 for nurse 1 and salary grade 24 for doctors.