War vs exploitation of nurses


WE, IN Ang Nars, strongly urge President Aquino, as he is about to give his second State of the Nation Address, to finally put a stop to the exploitative practices victimizing our nurses.

Over 400,000 of our country’s registered nurses are exploited by many health care institutions. In the name of volunteerism and/or in the guise of training them (through non-accredited training programs), they are made to work with the full responsibilities of an employed staff nurse, without any form of compensation, benefits and employer protection. Most are even required to pay for the “opportunity/privilege” to do “volunteer” work or render actual nursing care services in “training.”

These exploitative practices have been around for more than 15 years in private and government hospitals. They were temporarily halted in 2008, through the efforts of the Philippine Nurses Association. In January 2011, this exploitation issue broke out again in the media, but the exploitation stopped only for one week, because it seems the government is not concerned at all about it.

The whole Philippine population is deeply concerned. The hundreds of thousands of exploited nurses can be found among our brothers and sisters, spouses, parents and children. The Filipino nurses are clamoring for jobs they are already trained to do. Give them what is due, starting with a decent salary.

We have 12,000 signatures in support of our call. More signatures have also been gathered online at

We, the Filipino people, implore our government and our “People’s President,” to put a stop to the exploitative practices that victimize  our nurses and violate their constitutional and God-given rights.

We hope that during the Sona, President Aquino will include, as one of his priority concerns, the plight of our nurses, and take concrete actions to stop the false volunteerism and non-accredited training programs for nurses. Doing so would deliver a strong message that the Aquino administration is committed to promoting human rights and keeping the country on “Daang Matuwid.” This will be a significant achievement for Mr. Aquino in his second year as President of our beloved country.



Unit 208, 385 GJ Bldg.,

Quezon Ave. Quezon City

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  • Anonymous

    I sympathize with you and your plight. In fact, after watching a clip on youtube wherein one of you illustrated stories like the one you wrote,  I urged you with a comment, among many from others, to constantly stage rallies so as to attract the proper authorities to look and act on that problem. I agree that this is one illegal, very dirty and obscene practice by those health care institutions you named. So, again, I urge you to create NOISE as loud as you can with large, well-organized demonstrations. That’s one of the actions you can do. Ortherwise, you lose precious time,  and money, as it passes (you) by. 

  • Doods Staedler

    The problem of exploitation of nurses in the Philippines will continue until its government  will do something drastic about it. The high rate of unemployment and underemployment of our registered nurses is precisely due to oversupply of the already overcrowded nurse career market in the country. To some economists,any career or profession that help contributes in the improvement of ones economy can be considered sort of a commodity. A high surplus of any commodity in the market will always result in a remarkable drop or decrease  in price of such commodity. The same is true as in the case with our local labor market, hence job contractualization in the country always continue to exist. Does our Government has done something about this problem? The Law of Supply and Demand always prevail. In a place like the Phillipines where hunger is prevalent, so the saying goes, beggars cannot be chooser.

    Alberto ” Doods ” Lapiz
    General Santos City       

    • Anonymous

      “The Law of Supply and Demand always prevail. In a place like the
      Phillipines where hunger is prevalent, so the saying goes, beggars
      cannot be chooser.”

      “Beggars cannot be chooser.”

      The aphorism doesn’t apply to the nurses. Beggars have to take what is being offered to them regardless…they can’t demand money when they are given food instead.
      And nobody takes away or steal the alms they already have in their possession.

      On the other hand, nurses are being taken advantage by making them  pay for services they voluntarily contribute to the medical work force. The abundance of “supply” is not a justification or reason for these health institutions to charge them for certificates and experience they need as requireements for future job applications. What they (these hospitals) can do is deny some of those who can’t fit intraining spaces anymore, but they shouldn’t make them pay because of the competition for those spaces. But they do, and that is outright OPPORTUNISM!

      These nurses are not beggars who have no choices. They are not being given anything; Their rights and opportunites are being stolen away by imposing on them what is plain banditry, no less!

  • Anonymous

    Based on the open letter, it seems to me that some nurses “work” for free to get proper experience to probably obtain an actual paying position.  I agree to the comment earlier where one contributing factor to this is probably the oversupply of nurses in the Philippines.  Sad as it may seem, the practice of getting volunteers for a nursing role actually benefits the volunteer-nurses.  First off, I think that the volunteer-nurses would not accept these non-paying positions if they do not see the potential benefit.  Second, the volunteer-nurses did volunteer on their own accord.  Lastly, the hospitals/health care institutions actually provide the volunteer-nurses a service, and an opportunity gain much needed experience to practice their profession.  At the end of the day, if the volunteer-nurses think that there are other areas that will compensate them more (i.e., over the long-term and not necessarily financial), then they are always free to pursue such endeavors. 

    I think the government and society is better off if it does not involve itself in cases like this as this situation is temporary in nature.  (Temporary since nursing students will stop studying nursing if they think they will just be exploited in the end; hence, the situation will correct itself.) 

    • Anonymous

      @cpcook, tutal cook ang pangalan mo, mag-concentrate ka na lang kaya sa pagluluto? baka sakali ang luto mo “makain at malunok” ko pa, ‘no?

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