By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Thursday assured barangay health workers (BHWs) and nutrition scholars (BNSs) that he would push for the institutionalization of their compensation and benefits.
Ejercito said institutionalizing the compensation of BHWs and BNSs and their benefits are now possible since the Universal Health Care (UHC) is already a law.
In a speech before 8,000 BHWs and BNSs in Batangas City, Ejercito hailed their commitment to their task and for their significant roles in terms of health protection and promotion at the grassroots level.
“Ang mga BHW at BNS ang nakilala kong masisipag na nagtatrabaho sa ating pamahalaan (Our BHW and BNS are very hardworking workers in government),” said Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography.
“Kayo ang foot soldiers kahit umuulan, umaaraw kayo ay umiikot sa barangay (You are foot soldiers who are ready to go around villages whether its raining or not),” Ejercito told them during the birthday celebration of Batangas Governor Hermilando “Dodo” Mandanas last Monday.
The senator said both the BHW and BNS were indispensable front-liners of the government’s health service as well as in the implementation of the UHC.
“Ang tagumpay ng UHC ay nakasalalay din sa inyong (BHWs, BNSs) mga kamay (The success of the UHC now lies in your hands),” Ejercito said.
“Sa inyo nakasalalay ang preventive at primary care para hindi na lumalala ang sakit ng sinumang dadalhin sa health center sa inyong komunidad,(the government’s preventive and primary care now depends on you as we strive to provide healthcare to anyone who would be brought to health centers within your community),” he said.
Ejercito, who is running for another six-year term in the Senate, said he would prioritize a measure that would uplift the quality of life of BHWs and BNSs and their families, especially now that their knowledge is needed to ensure that the implementation of UHC would be successful, should he win in the upcoming May 2019 elections.
“Huwag kayong mag-alala mga BHW at BNSs na pinaka-overworked pero pinaka-undercompensated. ‘Di ba kayo voluntary lamang, nabubuhay lamang sa allowance? (I assure our BHW and BNS who are the most overworked yet undercompensated workers. Aren’t you doing your jobs voluntarily and relying only on allowance?),” Ejercito pointed out.
“Pero dahil sa inyong pagnanais na makapagsilbi sa bayan, ginagawa pa rin ang trabaho. Kayo po ay magigiting, kayo din ay modern day heroes, hindi lang ang OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) (Because of your aspiration to serve the nation, you continue to do your job. You are very courageous, and you also deserve to be called modern day heroes, not only our OFWs),” the senator noted.
Ejercito, who pushed for the passage of the UHC law in the Senate, vowed to pursue additional benefits for all BNSs and BHWs.
“Umasa kayo na isusunod na natin ang kapakanan ng ating mga BHW at BNS para kayo naman ay mabigyan ng tamang kompensasyon, (Count on me to prioritize the welfare of our BHW and BNS so that you would be given your rightful compensation) being in the frontline of government service),” said the senator.