THE PROFESSIONAL Regulation Commission recently announced that 3,717 out of 4,542 passed the Physician Licensure Examination given on September 2018. These new doctors are a welcome addition to the country’s healthcare professionals – should they decide to stay here, that is. It is public knowledge that many of our doctors and nurses dream of working abroad for high-paying jobs.
Really, how many government doctors and nurses do we have?
The scarcity of health professionals in the country is not new. In fact, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines as early as a decade ago observed that aside from healthcare, information technology, finance and accounting, engineering and mechanics and other workers with specialized skills were suffering from shortages.
In fact, this brain drain problem has been raised as early as 1980s. Back then, the effect of the exodus of highly-skilled workers was not obvious. However, the government reacted too slowly. Now, we have a scarcity on highly skilled workers, and we do not know anymore how to control it.
The number one complaint of our local workers is that they are not well-compensated. That is a reality the government cannot deny. However, if the government raises the salary scale for the workers, investors might relocate to neighboring countries with lower labor cost. It would mean lesser job opportunities for Filipinos.
Does the government have any idea where to begin addressing the exodus of workers? It’s a tricky situation. Yes, overseas Filipino workers’ remittances are a big help to the economy. But the country’s social services must not be sacrificed, such as medical services.
There is this prevailing perception that Filipinos, if given the chance, would leave the country as soon as they can for greener pastures abroad. Their goal is to primarily alleviate the poor economic conditions of their families. Who can blame them?