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: https://youtu.be/3F1qTKPeft4
Starving in Philippines’ Coronavirus Lockdown: A 16-Year-Old’s Story: https://youtu.be/RhDHGgo4yZg
Sex And Beauty Pageants In The Philippines: https://youtu.be/9qoFKvymZwM
Why’s This Illegal Skin Lightening Treatment So Popular?: https://youtu.be/pV5lffYFDNY
For more, SUBSCRIBE to CNA INSIDER!