DOH asks for volunteer health workers vs coronavirus, to be paid P500 a day

Bonz Magsambol
DOH asks for volunteer health workers vs coronavirus, to be paid P500 a day
Filipinos online call out the health department for 'exploiting' nurses in the guise of calling them heroes

MANILA, Philippines – As the Department of Health (DOH) ramped up calls for volunteer health workers to join the fight versus the coronavirus, Filipinos online called for better treatment of these frontliners facing the hazardous job.

In a Facebook post on Friday, March 27, DOH said that they are “looking for doctors, nurses, nurse assistants, hospital orderlies able, healthy and willing to commit to work in the fight against COVID-19.”

An applicant will be asked to answer a survey form, attend orientation, train, then sign a waiver and non-disclosure agreement. 

If accepted, a volunteer health worker will work in one of 3 COVID-19 referral hospitals. They will be provided with free food and accommodation for one month and a compensation of P500 per day – the current daily minimum wage in the Metro Manila. 

According to the DOH, upon completion of the one-month job, the volunteers will undergo a 14-day self-quarantine before they can return to their families.

‘Stop exploiting health workers’

The DOH Facebook post has since been flooded with comments, telling the health department to stop “exploiting nurse professionals in the guise of heroism.”

“Do not undermine us using compassion and kindness,” Facebook user Cherry Joy said.

“We just dont think that you people sitting behind your tables have that compassion and kindness for nurses! Your department is heartless!” she added. 

Jay Anne Chua, meanwhile, said that health workers of course would like to help this country, but “P500 as a hazard pay is lower than a minimum daily wage here in Metro Manila,” 

“It’s not that we don’t want to help, we are more than willing to help this country, but then is that all you can give us in return?” Chua added. 

Gregory Ian Nicerio Opeña took a swipe at the Philippine government for “paying Mocha Uson 6 figures,” but then can’t afford to pay health care workers better who are the frontliners in this crisis. 

Mocha Uson is an executive director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). She is accused of sharing unverified posts online. (READ: Mocha Uson: Fake news victim or fake news peddler?)

Three large Metro Manila hospitals said on Wednesday, March 25, that they have reached full capacity and would no longer accept new coronavirus cases. These Metro Manila hospitals are Makati Medical CenterThe Medical City in Pasig, and St Luke’s hospitals in Quezon City and Bonifacio Global City.

Hundreds of medical staff are no longer accepting patients because they are undergoing 14-day self-quarantines after suspected exposure, the hospitals said.

As of Thursday, March 26, The Philippine Medical Association said 9 doctors have died in the country from the coronavirus.

As of Thursday, the Philppines has now 707 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 45 deaths and 28 recoveries. –


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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.