Nurses on Friday staged simultaneous protest rallies in major cities in the country, including Manila, asking Malacañang to hire thousands of them who are still jobless despite passing the board examinations for nurses.
In Manila, more than 1,000 nurses marched from España Boulevard to Mendiola near the Palace, with their counterparts in the cities of Iloilo and Baguio and some parts of Mindanao also taking to the streets.
Wearing black armed bands, supposedly a symbol of the crisis facing the nursing profession, members of the Nurses for Change Movement and Nars ng Bayan led the march to Malacañang.
The two groups make up Justice for Nurses Coalition.
“Nurses are actually the most exploited professionals. Aside from the dismal salary we are receiving, particularly from the private health facilities, some of us are not even paid at all.
Nurses even pay the hospital they serve for free just to get a certification that they had [logged]two years of experience. Many nurses have fallen for this exploitative practice for the sake of [getting an]employment certificate, a necessary credential for an overseas job,” said Sean Herbert Velchez, president of National Orthopedic Employees Union and head nurse of the Philippine Orthopedic Center.
Those currently working in government and private hospitals are urging their employers to raise their monthly salary to at least P25,000.
Jossel Ebesate, president of Alliance of Health Workers, said there is no oversupply of nurses in the country today.
“The problem is that the government does not put enough funds in its health-sector programs. This is the real reason why [it does not]hire our nurses,” he added.