By Hannah Torregoza
Reelectionist Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito is looking forward to more state health workers as this year’s 2019 national budget allows the government to hire more nurses.
Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, said more than 13,000 nurses are set to be hired by the government this year as the General Appropriations Act (GAA), or the 2019 national budget, provides for sufficient funds to beef up the nursing workforce in government hospitals.
Ejercito said that under the proposed P3.757-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA), P7-billion has been earmarked for salaries and other financial benefits for the 13,578 nurses to be hired under the Human Resources for Health (HRH) program of the Department of Health (DOH).
Currently, there are 3,627 nurses employed by the government.
“This year, the national budget allows for the hiring of 13,578 more nurses for deployment in different DOH-retained hospitals, local government unit hospitals, rural health units, and barangay health stations,” Ejercito said in a statement.
He said the hiring of additional 13,578 nurses will bring the total number of nurses in government hospitals to 17,205.
It was Ejercito, the principal sponsor of the Universal Health Care law, who had pushed and succeeded, for the allocation of P7-billion for HRH during the Senate deliberation of the budget bill.
The administration senatorial candidate is seeking another six-year term in the upcoming May 2019 midterm elections.
“It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. First, the additional nurses will improve medical services in government-run hospitals, and, second, 13,578 jobless nurses will be given gainful employment,” he said.
The senator, who defended and sponsored the DOH budget during the budget deliberations, had also worked to restore in the GAA the P15 billion funds for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP).
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign the 2019 national budget on Monday.