Salute to our health leaders for standing up against corruption, mismanagement
The St. Luke’s Medical Center Employees Association agrees with all the points raised by the Philippine College of Physicians and other prominent health experts on the issues of corruption and mishandling by the government of its COVID-19 response. We understand the basis of the sentiments of these experts not just as observers but based on their factual findings and experiences in addressing the present health crisis.
We too are enraged that amid the crisis pummeling the country, some roguish individuals are amassing wealth from the funds intended for the COVID-19 response. The mishandling of funds sourced from taxpayer money is a crime that should not go unpunished. Barring Cabinet members and other officials from attending hearings conducted by the Senate blue ribbon committee does not only disrespect the august chamber, but is also a clear attempt by the Duterte administration to shield the executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. and their cohorts from possible persecution.
As union leaders who are at the forefront of protecting the rights and general well-being
of our members, we feel betrayed by these allegations of rampant corruption, and are in concert with our health experts’ call for an impartial investigation to unmask the culprits and masterminds of this heinous crime against the people. A grave injustice was committed against health care workers (HCWs) when we were deprived of the benefits and rights accorded to us by law. We are indignant that laws were passed in our name, but were circumvented and violated by agencies that were supposed to implement them.
We know for a fact that our health experts are economically well-off compared to us ordinary workers who “kung hindi kami kakahig ay hindi kami tutuka.” But we commend their bravery in speaking for the welfare of the health community to which we all belong. The conditions of HCWs are at their worst, especially in private hospitals. We only have our unions to rely on for our rights and benefits, and we are lucky enough that our employer, St. Luke’s Medical Center, has provided us other benefits that are more than what is stipulated by law. However, what about the greater majority of HCWs who are not represented by unions or are non-unionized?
In one recent forum we attended in Laguna province, we were informed by our fellow HCWs that they were uninformed of the mandatory benefits they were entitled to under the Bayanihan law. Terms such as special risk allowance, meals, accommodation and transportation, and life insurance were alien to them, and they only got the information from the news.
We salute the health experts for standing up on the issue of prevalent and massive corruption amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We join them in our common pursuit of truth and justice.
ROLDAN “JAO” CLUMIA
St. Luke’s Medical Center Employees Association
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