Health workers rally vs new license regulations

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Health professionals led by the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) on Monday went to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) office in Sampaloc, Manila, to protest the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Law.

The protesters argued that the CPD Law is “basically a commercialization and bastardization of the essence of continuing professional development.”

Under this law, professional license holders have to earn units in order to renew their license.

These units can be acquired through seminars, training, post-graduate courses and the like.

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Sean Herbert Velchez, a nurse and the AHW spokesman, said professionals will have to pay thousands of pesos in order to acquire the required units.

“How can a nurse or a medical technologist earning five thousand [pesos]a month afford to attend seminars and trainings costing three thousand to seven thousand [pesos]each? How can a midwife serving in a far-flung community in Biliran [province]attend seminars being offered by private training providers almost all of which can be found in city centers? How can OFWs [overseas Filipino workers]comply when there is no clear guideline on how they can acquire [those]units? How can the jobless or those who chose to be housewives but still want to maintain their licenses afford these seminars?” Velchez added.

He said there are thousands of health professionals who are jobless, contractual workers or working under deplorable conditions.

The AHW is campaigning to have the seminars and training be given for free to professionals and public and private employers to shoulder the cost.

“We hope that President Rodrigo Duterte will listen to the cries of Filipino professionals, most of them voted and heavily campaigned for him. We hope that the Duterte government reciprocates the sacrifices and contributions of Filipino professionals in nation building and progress,” Velchez said.

Aside from their campaign, they are also pushing for the passage of a National Minimum Wage, an increase in the salaries of health professionals, an end to contractualization and reduction of their income tax.

The group said that several professional groups are exploring the possibility of a nationwide strike and an OFW-led zero remittance day events. KENNETH HERNANDEZ

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