MANILA (PNA) --
Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee
on Finance, has expressed alarm over the mass exodus
of medical practitioners particularly doctors and
According to him, giving
more competitive salaries is a way to curb this.
Villar calls for a review
of the salaries of government doctors, nurses,
barangay health workers and other medical
practitioners to make it more competitive with those
given in foreign countries.
"Everyone is talking
about the 'brain drain' in the medical field, but what
are we doing to put a stop to this? The statistics is
a cause for concern already, it was reported that one
out of every five Filipino doctors are working as
nurses abroad. The only reason why these qualified
doctors would rather work as nurses abroad is because
of the higher pay there," he said.
Villar cited that
government doctors receive only an average monthly pay
of P15,000, while doctors who work as nurses in the US
earn 16 times more or over P200,000 a month.
He further cited that
nurses working in Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the
United Kingdom earn salary of anywhere between P40,000
and P120,000 or even more.
"Let's face it, our
government medical practitioners here are getting
measly salaries. The government has failed to increase
the salaries of doctors and nurses due to the Salary
Standardization Law (SSL), which puts a cap on their
monthly pay. But we need to make their salaries at par
with their counterparts abroad or even in the local
private practice, or else we will see more of them
leaving our shores for greener pastures," said Villar.
Based on figures from the
Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), around
55,355 nurses were deployed abroad from 1995 to 2002-a
figure which is further increasing. So much so that
the World Health Organization (WHO) already recognizes
the Philippines as the largest exporter of registered
"These nurses leave the
country soon after their graduation, around 15,000
nurses from 45 nursing schools leave for employment
abroad every year. Why? Again, because of the pay
difference," he further said.
The minimum basic pay of
nurses in public health institutions is P13,300 --
only six percent and 11 percent of what nurses in the
US and the UK earn respectively.
According to Villar,
there is really an urgent need to stop the mass exodus
of medical practitioners considering also that the
country has one of the lowest doctor/nurse-patient
ratios in the world.
As of 2003, there is only
one government doctor for every 28,493 Filipinos and
one nurse for every 16,986 Filipinos.