Nurses in the Philippines: Underpaid and unprotected from COVID-19 while saving lives

Nurses in the Philippines: Underpaid and unprotected from COVID-19 while saving lives

In April 2020, the Philippines government imposed a deployment ban on nurses, blocking them from taking on jobs overseas. The labour minister, Silvestre Bello, explained that the country cannot lose the “services of our nurses” at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of ‘prisonurses’ (coined from the term, prisoners) have appealed for the lifting of the ban.

For almost two decades, nurses in the Philippines have been fighting for fair compensation. A public law guarantees a starting salary of US$680 in public hospitals. In this episode of #UndercoverAsia, we spoke to a nurse who earns US$13 a day, barely US$3 above minimum wage in Manila.

In comparison, a nurse earns about US$2,400 in Germany, between US$2,700 and US$3,000 in the UK and about US$4,000 to US$8,000 in the US with overtime pay.

The Philippines government also promised that there’d be sufficient protection and introduced a hazard pay of US$10 a day for work during the pandemic.

Nurse Maria Theresa Cruz, 47, worked in Cainta Municipal Hospital. She had to purchase her own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). When she showed signs of COVID-19, she was only given rapid tests that came back negative, despite a government memo stating that rapid tests “should not be used to definitively rule out COVID-19”.

Theresa was later given a swab test which came back positive. By then, it was too late, she had already passed away. On top of her salary, she’d posthumously receive only US$1.26 a day in hazard pay.

As of November 2020, over 16,000 healthcare workers have yet to receive their hazard pay.

WATCH the full episode of Undercover Asia’s Nurses Wanted:

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  • Imagine nyo nalang kapag lahat ng health workers natin wala na at sumuko dahil sa pinag gagawa ninyo, di ninyo na iisip na unting unti na nauubos health workers natin sa bansa at nag iibang bansa na ang iilan dahil sa sobrang toxic dito at pati pamilya nila nadadamay sa sakit tapos kulang pa ang benepisyo na natatanggap nila at ang pasahod. Mga hayop kayo dyan sa senado na walang ginawa kundi bulabugin at harassin mga namumuno sa mga health care workers natin

  • Looy jud kau tang mga nurses sa Pinas. Way back 2014 pagsugod nakog trabaho 3 months way sweldo daun 1, 500 per month ang starting salary🤦‍♂️

  • OA

  • Probably because they took the vaccine

  • Yup, most nurses go to merica to make more money. Corrupt politicians takes all the money and retire a very very rich man/women . Thank you Philippines for taking good care of your people.

  • We are paying our doctor 7k every week. That's every Friday. That's is only for the doctors fee meds etc. Not included. Try to imagine from Monday to sat average patient 10 to 15 how much is the income of our doctor? And that is from 9am to 12nn then he will attend to another hospital a different income that is for Mon to sat no idea if Sunday is included. Private hospital.visayas region 6. No idea for nurses. Just saying by the way my sister is a nurse but in the u.s. for me it's there right for a better life it's your choice who the hell can stop you to have a better life if you have a opportunity just grab it. Practically speaking. Again it's a choice as long it is legal job.if she want to visit us here, we told her just obey the law and follow protocol and add alot of patient.

  • Sad reality 😢

  • Sabi nila 2M daw ang expense ng patience sa oras na magka covid. sa dami ng mga nag positive sa Pinas. bakit ganun parin ang sahud nga mga Nurse & Doctors natin sa dyan? Someone is getting Fat during Pandemic and I am pretty sure its not our front Liners.

  • maybe someone can answer some questions please….I was told that filipinos are required to pay for their covid vaccine shots. Is this true??? Are nurses who are recently licensed, but not yet working, required to pay for their covid vaccine shots before they can get a job in the nursing field? Someone told me if a filipino pays for their own covid vaccine shot the cost is about $500.00 U.S. Is this true??? thank you for all the info you may provide.

  • Mas importante kasi ang mga sweldo ng mga pulis na pumapatay ng mga suspected drug users and dealers.
    Basta maka-quota patay agad.

  • It makes me angry how the government exploited the medical workers. they risked their lives JUST to be paid with a freaking 13 US dollars??? Unbelievable.

  • N

  • Hello everyone! We would like to promote our advocacy about the proper treatments towards Healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic! We would appreciate it if you went ahead and visit this post and like it. Share it to your friends as well to spread awareness!!



  • We can't blame Filipino nurses for seeking greener pastures overseas because as awful as it sounds, their workplace and extremely low salary remain a soul-sucking hellhole. 😔💔

  • US and Uk stop hiring foreign nurses so what’s the fuss of this topic it’s political agenda to make ghetto government sounds bad


  • Sa ibang bansa ang laki ng sahod namin kasi may importansya kami dun. Eh dito may hero hero pa kayong nalalaman eh hindi nyo naman kami mabayaran ng tama

  • Sa nursing gagamitin mo talaga utak mo pero yung mga pulis na naka upo lang eh mas malaki pa sahod

  • guys, watch the full version of this coverage, it has something to do with the law in 1991 for decentralization, leaving the decision on how to spend the fundings on the whims of the local government units, so if they choose to not prioritize investing in developing their healthcare sector, DOH can't really do much. Ofcourse everyone including myself is desperate for this to change, and some accountability or a gov't body responsible to monitor the usage of these funds of some sort… hoping things become better and the gov't snaps back into reality that they really need these healthcare frontliners.

  • Bakit Rapid test yung binigay? Libre ang magpa swab test sa Red Cross or any government hospital. Ang tanong sino yung sinasabi mong taong Rapid test lang binigay? Hoy CNA your painting a bad picture here by never reporting both side.

  • Build2x more govt big regional, cities municipals hospitals and brgy clinic para mapaglingkuran sila at ang taong bayan. Pera medical ng taong bayan balik din sa pundong medical ng bayan. Ipasok lahat sa medical forces sa afp at dilg ang mga nurses sa ngayon at mag train na sa ngayon sa mga graduating students na mga nurseng sa buong bansa sa mga training center ng afp at dilg para sa susunod na taon o mga taon na susunod. Dagdagan o damihan o gawan ng task force sa afp, dilg at lgu sa mga cities, municipalities at brgy ng rescue medic task force 24 hrs na magrespondi sa mga aksedinte o anomang sakuna.

  • why not hire nurses. there are thousands of nursing graduate yearly. employ them as ojt.

  • the best place to have bout of heart attack is at call center . chances are there are plenty nurses there working as call center agents

  • they have been prioritized in vaccination!!!😣😣😣👊👊👊

  • Those police who's doing nothing and big salary just put them in hospital since they just sitting, drinking coffee and liquor most of the time I mean not all but most of them.facts!

  • Well the government raise the salary of the police, maybe we can ask them to duty in our hospitals since they are valued more than our healthcare workers?

  • Oh wow…now I understand why Filipino nurses are so eager to gain employment overseas.

  • Beside killing by own goverment they also been killed by own people ..only these white heroes stand for themself

  • They are the best in both world, even in Singapore give them the necessary equipment they face them head on without hesitation

  • With the STAGED Corona SCAM the governments all over the world are trying to eradicate our FREEDOM. If we don't FIGHT back we will end up as SLAVES

  • BULLSHIT and fear propaganda for the masses

  • "No more funding" because the politicians and the head of government agencies have been stealing tax revenues for years. They should be made to face the reality of their actions and have their banks accounts, assets and income audited going back the last 20 years at least. Corruption Kills!

  • The head of department of health in the Phillipines only concerns about how much money he can make.

  • Propaganda

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