Cebu med techs yet to receive pay for govt rapid test program

John Sitchon

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Cebu med techs yet to receive pay for govt rapid test program
(UPDATED) Out of 93 medical technologists, who conducted rapid tests last May in 3 cities in Cebu, only the 24 tapped by Lapu-Lapu City received their stipend

FRONTLINERS: Med Tech volunteers in their PPE suits, preparing to test residents in Barangay Basak Pardo. Photo courtesy of Renzel Yu

(Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said all 93 were not paid their stipends. This has been corrected.)

CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – A group of medical technologists who were hired to conduct the rapid testing program in 3 cities in Cebu are up in arms because they have yet to be paid for services they rendered over a month ago.

The cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue tapped 93 registered medical technologists to conduct their rapid testing programs last May. The frontliners swept all the barangays in these cities for 10 days.

Cebu City had the bulk of the med-techs with 48. Mandaue City had 21, while 24 volunteered from Lapu-Lapu City.

At the end of the project, only the Lapu-Lapu City volunteer frontliners received the stipend promised them. Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan facilitated the release of the honorarium to the volunteers in his area.

“I am so mad with what is happening. I really feel bad for us, health care workers. We risk so much, our salaries don’t even compensate enough. The worst part is that it gets delayed!” said 25-year-old Renzel Yu, one of registered medical technologist who worked in Cebu City

Through the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (Pamet) Cebu Chapter, the local government units and the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas gathered the med-tech volunteers with the agreement that they would be paid P1,000 honorarium per day.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) would be provided by the LGUs.

“Every day from May 6 to 15, we spent our time going to the different barangays while wearing very hot PPEs during summer,” said Yu.

Yu said they had already submitted their daily time records, and were told that payments were being processed.

“Another week passed and then it was June, people were already getting impatient. We complained and we were assured it would be followed-up,” said Yu.

PAMET Cebu President Prince Lee Balaba said: “Our request right now to the cities of Cebu and Mandaue is to fast track the release of the honorarium due to the participating Medical Technologists.”

Balaba said they have told Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes of the situation.

Sacrifice

The rapid testing program was done to assess the outbreak situation per barangay in the 3 Cebu cities, which is feared to be the “second major battleground” for coronavirus.

Yu said they would only last 2 hours in their PPEs under the sun outside, or else they would pass out or risk suffering from heat stroke.

Yu said they had been following up their due payments since May 18, but to no avail.

Yu said the compensation would help the medical technologists who were also struggling with the effects of the pandemic. 

(READ:National task force to ‘evaluate’ Cebu City’s COVID-19 response)

Yu added that he personally knew medical technologists who didn’t have cash at the time, and that having a part-time job like the ones they had meant they were already “the lucky ones.”

“Urgency please. Do not forget health care workers. Do not bash the people who are doing their very best to help address this pandemic. Help us,” said Yu. – Rappler.com

 

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