690 doctors, nurses volunteer to fight COVID-19 pandemic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2020 04:30 PM

MANILA - Some 690 health workers have volunteered to serve in the fight against COVID-19 after the Department of Health called for support as cases in the country continued to climb.

The volunteers would serve at 3 government hospitals designated for COVID-19 cases for 14 days, followed by a 2-week quarantine, the DOH earlier said.

"No amount would ever be equal to the service you have committed to render our countrymen as you prepare to support other healthcare workers already at the frontlines," it said in a statement Sunday.

The DOH again apologized for offering only P500 as pay for the volunteers, saying it was based on a "previous volunteer program for the outbreak response that was implemented last year."

"With the passage of the Bayanihan Act...we anticipate more flexibility to realign budgets further and receive additional funds for emergency hiring of temporary healthcare workers, among other equally important initiatives," it said.

"Muli, humihingi po ng paumanhin at ag-unawa ang inyong Kagawaran. Mabuhay ang health workers ng sambayanang Pilipino. Sa inyo ang aming taos pusong pasasalamat."

The government is "willing" to allot payment for volunteer health workers equivalent to the regular salary of their counterparts who are newly-hired by government, ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap said.

This would be equal to P50,000 for doctors and P22,000 for nurses, according to Dr. Geneve Reyes, secretary-general of Health Action for Human Rights, who suggested the rate.

As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 1,075 cases of COVID-19, with 68 deaths and 35 recoveries.