Healthcare workers from different hospitals held an online coordinated protest from their wards on January 27 to reiterate their strong opposition against the unjust and “anti-health workers” policies by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Duterte Administration amidst the recent surge of COVID-19 cases.

One of the main policies that healthcare workers denounced is the shortened isolation and quarantine protocols that are implemented by the DOH in a memorandum circular that they released last January 6.

“Pagod na pagod na ang ating mga health workers, lalo na halos magdadalawang taon na ang pandemya, hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay ni hindi man lang naibibigay ang tamang benepisyo para sa kanila, halos naninikluhod na nga kami. Patuloy na nadidismaya ang ating mga health workers,” National President of the Alliance of Health Workers Robert Mendoza said.

[Our health workers are very tired, especially because the pandemic is almost two years until now the right benefits have not been given to them, we are even begging on our knees. Health workers continue to be dismayed.]

Health workers held the protest during their lunch break, as they continue to decry the outright negligence of this administration in handling the pandemic which causes frustration among the health workers which greatly affects their health, safety and overall well-being.

Health workers wanted the isolation and quarantine period to go back to the original 14 days after it was brought down to only five days by the DOH, and in some cases, even no quarantine period at all for asymptomatic patients.

Health workers also said that the DOH Circular is inhumane and unjust and will pose further danger to the health and safety of health workers as well as the patients.

“We demand for a 14-day quarantine and isolation protocol for the health workers and general public regardless of whether one is asymptomatic but with close contact, asymptomatic COVID positive, those with mild and moderate symptoms COVID positive in order to ensure safety of health workers, their patients and to the rest of general public,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza also added that the shortened quarantine period is not the answer for the shortage in manpower in different hospitals but instead, the administration should hire more permanent health workers and regularized those who are still contractual so that they will not be overworked.

“Ang ideal na ratio ng nurses at patients ay 1 nurse to 12 patients pero dahil sa kasalukuyang kalagayan ng ating mga hospital, hindi pa din ito natutupad. Kung ang dati nilang trabaho na doble lang, ngayon ay triple na. Kaya dapat na ipatupad na ang mass hiring ng mga permanent health workers,” Mendoza said.

[The ideal ratio of nurses is 1 to 12 patients but because of the current conditions of our hospitals, this cannot be followed. If before, their work was doubled, now it has tripled. That’s why mass hiring of permanent health workers should be implemented.]

Health workers also reiterated their calls for proper compensation and benefits and strongly opposed the DOH’s ONE Covid allowance which will completely remove the special risk allowance (SRA), active hazard duty pay (AHDP) and meal, accommodation and transportation (MAT) allowance.

“We vehemently oppose the One COVID-19 Allowance (OCA) because it would mean complete removal of our COVDI-19 benefits such as special risk allowance (SRA), active hazard duty pay (AHDP) and meal, accommodation and transportation (MAT) allowance. This scheme is indeed unjust, a discrimination and insult to us health workers as we were being devalued of our worth as frontliners fighting this pandeminc,” Mr. Benjamin Santos, AHW Secretary General uttered.

According to Santos, the DOH still owes them COVID-19 benefits under Bayanihan Law 2. And now this government is trying to degrade and depreciate the benefits that we deserve by implementing OCA.

In a press statement, the Alliance of Health Workers reiterated their calls to the DOH and Duterte administration,

  1. NO to shortened isolation and quarantine protocol for health workers!
  2.  YES, to 14 days isolation and quarantine protocol to all health workers!
  3. MASS hiring of permanent health workers, now!
  4. OPPOSE One COVID-19 Allowance!
  5. PROVIDE P15K/month Special Risk Allowance!
  6. PROVIDE P5K/month Active Hazard Duty Pay!
  7. PROVIDE P38K/month Meal, Accommodation and Transportation Allowance!
  8. PROVIDE P100K COVID-19 compensation to health workers with severe cases, P50K for mild and moderate cases!
  9. PROVIDE P1M for health workers who died due to COVID-19!
  10. FREE and mandatory RT-PCR testing every 15 days to all health workers!
  11. PROVIDE free and quality PPE!
  12. FIGHT for P25K as entry salary for health worker!
  13. Fight for P40K as entry salary for nurses!
  14. PROVIDE continuous COVID-19 benefits and compensation to all health workers during pandemic or state of national emergency.


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