Press Release
November 22, 2016


Nurses, doctors and health practitioners deployed in the rural areas will keep their jobs after Health officials assured senators that the planned downsizing of frontline health workers will not push through next year.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial made the assurance through Senator Sonny Angara during plenary debates Monday night on the agency's P149.8-billion budget request for 2017.

"I am pleased to inform everybody that the DOH has assured us that they will keep all personnel," Angara told his colleagues when the issue was brought up by Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto during the deliberations on the DOH budget.

"Nagsabi po ang mga kaibigan natin sa DOH na lahat po ay i-re-retain nila. Their jobs are saved," Angara said.

On the line were 6,378 nursing jobs as the DOH originally proposed to cut their number from 15,727 this year to 9,349 in 2017 under the government's Rural Health Practice Program, in which the DOH shoulders the pay of health professionals deployed to poor and remote towns.

On the other hand, the number of physicians hired under the Doctor to the Barrios program will be more than halved from 946 this year to 435 in 2017.

The DOH clarified that the 946 slots for doctors this year was the health department's target in 2016 but the actual number of takers for these slots was only 373.

Since there were no takers for the Doctor to the Barrios program, the DOH reduced their target for 2017 to 436 slots.

Angara said nurses and doctors can be accommodated in the 2,587 Universal Health Coverage Implementers and 2,803 Public Health Associates slots that would open up next year.

Meanwhile, the number of dentists to be assigned to rural clinics, which the DOH proposed to lower from 324 in 2016 to 243 in 2017, will also be retained.

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