In a move that will surely be welcomed by the thousands of unemployed nurses that undoubtedly comprise a major sector of the current Philippine labor force, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had called for a press conference last October 27 to announce that, out of the ₱72-B national fund that Pres. Aquino had approved for release this year, ₱294-M will go to the much-vaunted Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN Heals) program which the Department of Health (DOH) has already been gearing up for since the impromptu announcement that they are, in fact, already hiring some two weeks ago.
To any casual observer, the amount may seem awfully paltry at first. After all, claims have been coming out lately that some nurses who make up the first batch of the RN Heals program have only been receiving half of the intended ₱8,000 monthly allowance that the program is supposed to provide them with. But we have to also remember that–in a time where government is being pressured to employ former President Estrada’s shock-and-awe tactics in a sudden renewal of hostilities between the army and the Muslim insurgency–there’s a very huge possibility that a chunk of the ₱294-M may have gone to, say, re-equipping the local troops with better equipment instead of serving the needs of an undervalued healthcare sector. Also, delayed salaries are very much an expected–although no less harsher–reality in the confines of government-sponsored employment; just ask your local public school teacher about it.
For sure, news like these may bode well for the unemployed nursing professionals who are the ones who should benefit from the RN Heals program. It may stand to reason, however, that this current program–similar to the stimulus packages that are slowly becoming the hallmark of the American and European financial markets–only protracts the problem rather than solving it in the long run. Oh well, a nurse can always hope for something better, right?
Thanks to the Nurse Today page for the heads up.