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Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has voiced his support for halting the “sordid practice” of nurse volunteer programs in government and private hospitals.

In his message for the Philippine Nurses Association’s 89th Foundation Anniversary and Annual National Convention in Cebu last Tuesday, Binay lauded the Department of Health (DoH) for terminating all volunteer programs in all DoH-retained hospitals.

“The law recognizes this and mandates the State to improve and protect this noble profession and its practitioners. In particular, there is a focus on relevant education, humane working conditions, and a dignified existence for all nurses. It was this focus that prompted the Department of Health to issue Memorandum 2011-0238 last month, terminating all volunteer programs in all DoH-retained hospitals, and I am sure this move was well received by your Association,” Binay said in a message that was read by a PNA official.

The Vice President left for Saudi Arabia that day to attend the funeral of the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz al Saud.

“It saddens me to see honest people, wanting nothing but a decent chance of employment, exploited by the unscrupulous. To work extended hours in an environment of increased morbidity for minimal financial gain is already a great sacrifice. To demand that fresh graduates pay for this experience is more than unreasonable. It is an injustice that cannot be tolerated or permitted to propagate,” he said.

Binay lauded the DoH “for being the first to say, “No More!” to what he described as a “sordid practice.”

“At least within their system, nurses shall receive compensation for whatever service they render. But the DoH’s reach is only so far. Their memorandum covers only the facilities under their jurisdiction. Outside that purview, one hospital too many is all too willing to continue with this misguided practice. Making things worse, some of the training programs they offer are not even accredited by the Board of Nursing, and as such are not recognized by law,” he said.

“Naniniwala po ako na kailangan mapatigil ang ganitong gawain sa mga pribado at mga provincial hospitals. Sa adhikaing ito, magkasama po tayong lahat at bukas po ang aking tanggapan upang tulungan kayo (I believe that we have to put a stop to this practice. And you can count on my support for this advocacy),” he said.

Binay praised Filipino nurse for being “the best health care workers in the world.”

“They are some the best ambassadors of our people, and strangers who have never heard of the Philippines learn of us through the most positive examples. Our nurses have also been heroic supporters of our economy. Like so many other Global Filipinos, their continued generosity in sending money home has made our nation resilient against shifting economic tides. For all their sacrifices, we are grateful and this gratitude should be matched by our own commitment to their welfare,” he said.

Source:JC Bello Ruiz – mb.com.ph

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