VICE President Leni Robredo said the government must pursue the regularization of jobs in the healthcare sector and to provide additional support to improve the welfare of Filipino medical workers.

“Sisiguraduhin natin ‘yung regularization ng trabaho ng health workers at exemption nila sa Personnel Salary Cap ay maibigay sa kanila... Kasi ang dami pong health workers ay job order. Ang dami sa kanila hindi pa regularized, pero essential work ‘yung ginagawa nila,” Robredo said.

The presidential aspirant added that exempting healthcare workers from the Personnel Salary Cap will encourage them to remain in the country instead of seeking opportunities abroad, which offers them more competitive salaries.

“Hindi naman natin sila mapipigilan lalong lalo na kasi marami sa kanila ay may pamilya din na binubuhay. Syempre ‘yung kukunin nilang mga trabaho kung saan mas mapapabuti ‘yung mga pamilya nila,” Robredo said.

She added that frontliners should receive in full all the benefits under the Magna Carta for Health Workers, in a timely manner.

“Dapat ‘yung mga nag-aalaga sa atin kapag nagkakasakit tayo, lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya, dapat naaalagaan din at na-poproteksyunan sila ng gobyerno,” the Vice President said.

According to Robredo, she will push for more benefits for healthcare workers “through executive action,” such as free regular Covid testing, paid Covid sick leaves, and transportation and meal allowances.

Since the pandemic started in 2020, Robredo and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) worked to answer the needs of both healthcare workers and patients. Through their Angat Buhay program and its partners, the OVP opened free dorms and free shuttle services for frontliners, among others.

The OVP’s free pandemic response programs for the public include the Swab Cab which offers Covid-19 antigen testing, Vaccine Express that provides Covid-19 vaccination to communities, and the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, a teleconsultation platform.

In a forum with the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex), Robredo said government should implement more programs to address the pandemic and strengthen our healthcare system, as the global health crisis enters its third year.

“Best practices around the world already show us an effective containment strategy: aggressive testing, integrated mobility databases for tracing, strengthening the capacities of our healthcare system for us to be able to provide the treatment required,” she said.

Robredo said effective treatment means capacitating hospitals and frontliners with what they need, including support, to hold the line.

She added that bed capacity in hospitals “should be addressed so that the country reaches a more responsive hospital bed to population ratio.”