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Gov’t to hire more than 20,000 health professionals next year to beef up medical workforce

More than 20,000 health professionals will be hired next year to boost the workforce providing medical assistance to people especially to those living in far-flung areas, President Duterte announced on Monday.


The President, in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) amid a coronavirus pandemic, also disclosed government plans to enhance government healthcare facilities to better respond to the needs of the communities.

“In 2021, we aim to increase access to healthcare services by continuously hiring and deploying more than 20,000 health professionals. This will augment the health workforce in the LGUs (local government units), particularly in isolated and disadvantaged areas,” Duterte said.

“We will implement projects to establish and improve Barangay Health Stations, Rural Health Units, and other healthcare facilities,” he added.

Duterte bared his course of action on healthcare services after recognizing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the health and livelihood of the people. 

He admitted that the victory in the fight against coronavirus would “take longer than we expect,” and asked for the public’s cooperation to overcome the health crisis.

“I must admit that our actions have been far from perfect — totoo iyan I admit it — and there could be improvements here or there—but all of us in government, including myself, assure you that we will not stop until we get things right and better for you,” he said.

Duterte also promised that the government will address the concerns of the public about their health and livelihood due to the pandemic.

“I know that many of you are worried not only about health and safety but also about our ability to move around and ride public transportation; the depletion of your savings due to the rising cost of goods; and the loss of your incomes due to uncertainties in your jobs and livelihood. I assure you that your government will [squarely address] these problems and challenges to overcome them and proceed to the ‘new normal,” he said.

So far, Duterte said the country has been able “to withstand the headwinds generated by this coronavirus,” citing the work of health workers and other frontliners, and national government and local officials.

“Let me say that the strength of a nation rests in the hands of the people acting as one with government, in the pursuit of common goals and objectives,” he said.

The President, however, is still not keen on fully opening up the economy to stem the spread of the contagious disease. As the country remained largely under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Duterte said he is not ready to gamble with the lives and health of the people.

The President is expected to determine this week whether to modify the country’s varying quarantine levels that will expire on July 31.

In the same speech, the President lauded the establishment of Malasakit Centers that help Filipinos get speedy assistance in government hospitals. 

Republic Act No. 11463 that institutionalizes the Malasakit Centers in public hospitals run by the Department of Health was signed by the President last December.

“The Malasakit Centers Act has proven to be of great help to our less fortunate citizens needing medical services through a one-stop platform in government hospitals,” he said.

At present, he said, there are 75 Malasakit Centers serving Filipinos all over the country. “These centers will be of great help in ensuring that our people remain healthy and resilient during these challenging times,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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