Nurses protest for PPE, wage increase

Nurses of the San Laza­ro Hos­pi­tal in Manila City mounted a silent protest last July 16 to demand better treatment. The nurses disclosed that around 60 health workers in the hospital were infected with Covid-19. Among them are 48 patients who compose 60% of the facilities Covid-19 patients.

They lamented that the infections were primarily caused by the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the wrong type of face masks that were given them. They also criticized the slow disbursement of funds for a wage increase, as well as the absence of hazard pay and other benefits.

As of June 30, the Department of Health has distributed only 2 million despite being appropriated a budget for the procurement of 10 million PPE. So far, the agency has been able to procure and distribute only less than half of much-needed medical equipment. Recent reports revealed that majority of Covid-19 wards have already reached full capacity and could no longer accept critical patients.

The Filipino Nurses United bared that nurses are overworked yet underpaid and left unprotected from Covid-19. On July 18, the Department of Budget and Management issued a circular to implement the increase in salary grade of nurses as stipulated in the Philippine Nursing Act. This entitles entry-level nurses in public hospitals to a salary of ₱32,000-₱34,000 from ₱22,000-₱24,000 previously. The said law was enacted in 2002, or 18 years ago, but is only set to take effect today.