Tue, 25 Jan 2022

MANILA - Senator Christopher "Bong" Go has recognized the critical role that medical technologists play in helping the country effectively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a speech during the final day of the 57th Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) Annual Convention held virtually from Dec. 1 to 4, Go expressed gratitude to the medical technologists and other health workers who continue to serve bravely on the frontlines against the global health crisis.

"Sa lahat ng front-liners, maraming salamat mula sa amin ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte. Hindi matutumbasan ng kahit ano ang inyong sakripisyo... Lalo na ngayong pandemya, kailangan ng mga Pilipino ang inyong kadalubhasaan sa pagbibigay ng maaasahang mga pagsusuri upang masugpo ang Covid-19 at iba pang sakit (To all our front-liners, President Duterte and I would like to express our sincerest appreciation to you. Nothing can match your sacrifices. Filipinos need your expertise in providing reliable tests to curb the Covid-19 pandemic and other diseases)," Go said.

Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, vowed to push for policies that will augment and strengthen the national health workforce, noting the sheer number of Covid-19 tests that medical technologists must conduct on a daily basis.

"Napakahalaga lalo na ng papel ng mga medical technologists sa ating pagsisikap na mabigyan ng malusog at ligtas na pangangatawan at kinabukasan ang ating mga kababayan (The role of medical technologists in our efforts to keep our people health is very important)," he said.

He also lauded PAMET for its efforts to raise the standards and visibility of clinical laboratory science in the country.

The pandemic, he said, has highlighted a critical need for more medical technologists to manage the high volume of tests.

To address this shortage, Go had earlier successfully pushed for the inclusion of all frontline personnel of the Professional Regulation Commission and board examiners in the A4 priority group of the Covid-19 vaccination program, without prejudice to the previously identified priority sectors.

"Kaya naman pinupuri ko ang PAMET sa patuloy na pagsulong ng laboratory science sa bansa sa loob ng halos 60 taon. Nagtitiwala ako na patuloy ninyong susundin ang pinakamataas na pamantayan sa inyong propesyon upang maihatid ang maayos na serbisyo na nararapat sa bawat Pilipino (We commend PAMET for continuously pushing laboratory science in our country for 60 years now. We hope that you'll continue to follow the high standard of your profession to deliver proper services that Filipinos deserve)," he said.

Fixed monthly risk allowance

Go reaffirmed his commitment to push for the passage of Senate Bill 2421 which seeks to provide health workers with a fixed monthly Covid-19 Risk Allowance for the duration of the current state of emergency in lieu of the special risk allowance and other financial compensation granted under the Bayanihan 2.

The bill, which Go authored and co-sponsored in the Senate, specifically seeks to give all health workers deployed in "high risk areas" a monthly allowance of PHP9,000 while those in "medium risk areas" and "low risk areas" will be provided PHP6,000 and PHP3,000, respectively.

"Sa ilalim ng panukalang ito, mas maraming health workers ang makakatanggap ng [allowance]. Hindi na ito limitado sa mga directly exposed sa Covid-19 patients... Gaya ninyong medical technologists, hindi man kayo direktang exposed kayo naman ang nagsusuri ng mga specimen kaya dapat lang na kasama kayo sa makatanggap (Under this proposal, more health workers will get allowance. This is not only limited to those exposed to Covid-19 patients. Like them, medical technologists, though you're not directly exposed, you're examining specimen so you must also be included)," he said.

He promised to ensure that the Department of Health has sufficient funds in 2022 for the continuous provision of risk allowances and the implementation of Duterte's directive that increased the salary grade of Nurse 2 positions from SG (salary grade) 15 to SG 16.

Given the crucial role of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, Go likewise pledged to back additional funds for the institute, which was the pioneer Covid-19 testing facility in the country.

"Hindi man mababayaran ng kahit anong halaga ang inyong buhay, mahalaga pa din ang pagkikilala sa sakripisyo ninyo ... kaya naman nung may na-delay na cash assistance ng mga namatayan ng front-liners ay sinumbong ko ito kay Pangulo. Nakasuhan at nasuspendido 'yung mga opisyales na nagpatagal nito (Though one's life is priceless, it is still important to recognize your sacrifices...that is why when there was delayed cash assistance to deceased front-liners, I reported it to the President. The officers who delayed it were charged and suspended)," Go said.

Avail Malasakit Center services

Go reminded all sick and injured health workers to avail of the services of the 149 Malasakit Centers nationwide. The center aims to reduce a patient's hospital bill to the lowest possible amount by covering various patient services and expenses through existing medical assistance programs.

He also recognized the string of promising developments on the vaccine front in recent weeks and called on PAMET's local chapters to support the government's Covid-19 vaccination campaign to help the country achieve herd immunity.

The Philippines has so far obtained an estimated 146 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, including 90.6 million that have been successfully administered as of Dec. 3. There are now 37.6 million fully vaccinated Filipinos.

"Sana patuloy din namin kayong maging kasama at katuwang sa aming mga adhikain ng Pangulo para sa ikabubuti ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino (I hope you'll continue to be our partner in our President's aspirations for the betterment of the lives of every Filipino)," he said.

The ceremony was also attended by PAMET national president Rommel Saceda, national vice president Felicisimo Martinez Jr., executive secretary Ma. Rita Sebastian, national treasurer Evangeline Castillo, national auditor Marites Go and national PRO Mark Nava, among others. (PR)

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