593 health workers volunteer to fight coronavirus

Aika Rey
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire thanks the health workers who signed up to join the fight against the coronavirus disease

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. The Department of Health opened the call for volunteer health workers as coronavirus cases spike. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Almost 600 health workers have volunteered to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines, the Department of Health announced on Saturday evening, March 28.

In DOH’s daily briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire thanked the health workers who signed up to join the big push to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Gusto naming pasalamatan ang daan-daan na nag-volunteer na sa ating programa…As of 6 pm, ngayon pong gabi, 593 na po ang nag-sign-up na health workers upang tumulong laban sa COVID-19,” Vergeire said.

(We want to thank the hundreds who volunteered to help our program. As of 6 pm, tonight, 593 health workers have already signed up to help fight COVID-19.)

On Friday, March 27, DOH announced the need for volunteer medical frontliners who are “able, healthy, and willing” to fight the pandemic for one month, as major hospitals exceed capacity to deal with the virus. (READ: IN NUMBERS: What hospitals need to treat COVID-19 patients)

The health workers will be assigned to either of the 3 referral hospitals: Lung Center of the Philippines, Phililppine General Hospital, and Dr Jose N Rodriguez Hospital.

An on-site accommodation, food, and payment of P500 per day – which is below the minimum daily wage for non-agricultural jobs in Metro Manila – will be provided. Volunteer health workers who contract COVID-19 while in the line of duty will be covered by the compensation scheme of the government.

Several social media users have slammed DOH for “exploiting” health professionals by providing below-minimum-wage compensation.

As of Saturday, March 28, the Philippines has 1,075 coronavirus cases, with 68 deaths.  – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.