MANILA --Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial has directed her department to revisit and amend the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers.
In a press briefing held at the Department of Health (DOH) media relations unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila, Ubial said the move aims to reinforce the benefits and provide security to health workers, particularly those deployed in Geographically Isolated and Depressed Areas (GIDA) and localities that are prone to violence.
Noting that the Magna Carta requires revisions, the health chief pointed out that although there is a provision on hardship allowance, hazard pay and overtime pay, there is no specific provision on safety.
"They risk their lives in the line of duty while saving the lives of others. The service that they give is matchless and invaluable. Let not the life and death of Dr. (Dreyfuss) Perlas be forgotten and put to waste. We rally together with all health workers to continue the fight for better working conditions,” Ubial said.
She recounted that when she was deployed to Cotabato City, the LGU gave them security training, such as what to do when there are bombings.
Health workers could be trained on the use of firearms and handheld radios for their security, she said.
Meanwhile, the death of Perlas, who served two years under the DOH Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program, prompted his fellow barrio doctors to hold the Black Monday protest to demand justice and call attention to the needs of front-line health workers facing their daily battles of difficult working conditions, denial of legal benefits and other entitlements, harassment and acts of violence.
Masses were held across the country on Sunday, offering prayers for Perlas and honoring his example as a service-oriented and altruistic physician for the people of Mindanao.
Perlas was shot dead in Sapad, Lanao del Norte last March 1. Police have yet to identify his assailant. (PNA)