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ENDO for nurses, too

They’re nurses, but looking and listening to them at the Liwasang  Bonifacio yesterday, they seemed to observers to be the ones in need of doses of medicine and tender loving care. They were at the Liwasan to stage a Nurses’ National Day of Peaceful Protest.

The leader of the protesting group,  Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz, former Representative of the 16th Congress ANG NARS Party-list and founding president of ANG NARS Inc., said, “I am glad that nurses have the courage to speak up against work exploitation and stand up to stop oppression in their work environment.”

She read a letter addressed to President  Duterte expressing the sentiment of the country’s nurses, essentially asking for the lifting of the ENDO practice in their workplaces. The letter, dated Jan. 10, 2018,  stated that the ANG NARS HRH (Health Human Resource) Advocates for Plantilla launched a signature campaign to STOP ENDO. (ENDO is the Pilipino slang for end of contract.)

Tatay Digong, the nurses wrote, they could not celebrate Christmas and New Year because they had one foot at the top of the grave because by January and December, their employment contract would be terminated, and if they had no “backer,” they would be jobless. In 2018, they wrote, 40 percent would be out of work. As of 2016, 200,000 nurses were out of work.

The nurses, said Ms Paquiz, wonder why government agencies are the No. 1 endorser of  ENDO and contractualization. Nurses leave the country and work abroad because of low salaries here and uncertain re-employment. “Walang kalusugang pangkalahatan kung walang mangangalaga sa kalusugan ng bayan,” their letter said (We can’t boast of a healthy nation if no one takes care of its people).

Under the present employment situation, they have little money for food or medicines when they fall ill. How can they render quality service in foreign  lands if they themselves are in no happy disposition?

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The nurses hope and pray that their Tatay Digong will put into action his promise to stop ENDO and contractualization. 

Last Feb. 6, Secretary Bello called for a consultation meeting with the nurses. He then encouraged them to file any violation of the Labor Code and Department Order 182-17 entitled “Guidelines Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Health Personnel in the Private Healthcare Industry.”

On Feb. 12, the DOH-HHRD bureau, in a dialogue with the nurses, surprisingly found out for the first time of work conditions suffered by this health service sector. These include the withholding of their taxes in 2017 (erroneous though they had been), some DOH officials tell the complainants to donate na lang  their claim for tax refunds; some nurses have not received their last pay in 2017, nurses  in the war areas do not receive hazard pay and transportation allowance.

The nurses’ association proposed the creation of a one-stop assistance center to address the tax refund issue and review of salaries, and reviewing of the practice of DOH hospitals giving job orders instead of permanent positions.

 Ms. Paquiz said of yesterday’s peaceful protest rally, “In total, everything went well through God’s guidance and together, let us all address the issues and concerns and turn the tide on losing our health workers by retaining and retraining them in the field of community/public health. Let us make our HRH a competent partner of our government in building a healthy nation.”

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Hoping against hope, Inner Wheel Club Philippines will have President Duterte as keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies of its 52nd national conference on Feb. 23-24 at the Manila Hotel.

The President will find it worthwhile addressing hundreds of members of Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines Inc. (IWCP). It is a member of Inner Wheel International, one of the largest women’s service voluntary organizations in the world. It counts 100,000 members of 3,895 clubs in 104 countries. Inner Wheel clubs work for charities and causes to give people “happier futures and better lives.”

Inner Wheel Club Philippines counts nine districts with a total of 82 clubs and 1,414 members throughout the country.  

The organization starts each year with a national conference. Dr. Kapila Gupta, Inner Wheel International president, will grace the occasion. A medical doctor by profession, she serves as director-consultant at the DOP Gupta Memorial Diagnostic Center in Rohtak City, in Haryana, India. Joining Inner Wheel in 1991, she has served all posts at club level and has received many awards as Best President.

Activities at the national conference are the following: on opening day, photo and commercial exhibits opened by Dr. Gupta and IWCP Gloria “Baby”  Golez, IWCP president; on the second day, a thanksgiving mass and general assembly, a business meeting, and a talent night and grand raffle. 

According to Golez, Inner Wheel Club Philippines has partnered with government agencies such as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)and the Party-list One  Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals or 1-Pacman (a namesake of Senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao) whose aim is  to put priority on sports development, education and job creation.

Notable IWCP projects are Lingkod ER which provides financial assistance to emergency  room patients who cannot afford to pay their hospital bills, and the Ako’y Pilipino writing contest among fourth-year high school students from the nine Inner Wheel districts.

The  52nd national conference chair is Malen Ang.

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Marco Polo Ortigas Manila handed over Philippine Eagle stuffed toys to the little tots at Riversprings School two weeks ago for its Wings of Hope campaign.

The campaign was first launched during the hotel’s 2016 Christmas Tree Lighting with the Wings of Hope tree, a project that  invited guests to purchase a Philippine Eagle stuffed toy, with their written heartfelt messages attached to it, during the duration of the holidays. The toys were donated to indigent kids, and proceeds given to the Philippine Eagle Foundation. 

With the success of the first year campaign, it was relaunched the second time during the 2017 Christmas Tree Lighting held last November. This January, 80 toys were turned over to the kids of  Riversprings School, together with books and school supplies from different partners. 

“It was very inspiring seeing the kids’ reactions as they got their stuffed toys. At the same time, we help the country preserve its culture with the eagles,” said General Manager Frank Reichenbach.

Philippine Eagle Foundation is a non-government organization that focuses on Philippine eagle survival through a conservation breeding program that re-introduces species to their natural habitat to avoid extinction. Started in 1965, it aims to raise awareness and address one of the wildlife conservation crises that the Philippine Eagle Foundation is facing today: the survival of the national bird, the Philippine Eagle. With its possible extinction in the future, if not taken care of, there would be a decrease in the number of the bird, as well as in the quality of the Philippine environment. As of 2015, there were only  400 Philippine Eagles left.  

The Philippine Eagle stuffed toy is available at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila for P600

Email: doinitorrevillas@gmail.com

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