By JOHN PAUL NACION
MANILA — “Let nurses run for Congress so that the voice of nurses can be heard.”
This is what Maristela Abenojar, president of Nurses United Partylist, said as their members gathered in front of the Commission on Elections today, to urge the government agency to approve their party-list, which, she said, can genuinely represent health workers in Congress.
Comelec earlier denied the Nurses United Partylist the accreditation it needs to run for the partylist elections next year. This, said Makabayan chairperson and senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares, adds to “the big injustice suffered by our pandemic heroes.”
“It disenfranchises the rank and file of our health sector who deserve the best representation in Congress,” he added.
Amid the pandemic, health workers have been hailed as heroes. Yet, more than a year into the pandemic, they are still assailing the poor wages and insufficient protection and support they need to carry out their work. Many health workers said they are working beyond 12 hours, have no appropriate protective gear, and no security of tenure, among others.
“Nurses are the first faces a patient will see when she or he rushes to the emergency room, a health center, or a Rural Health Unit. Nurses are also the last persons patients talk to before going home to their loved ones from the hospital, or who hold their hands as they breathe their last. Nurses are there for patients 24/7 – with or without pandemic. Nurses are also the ones who provide health education and conduct health programs in the communities,” said Abenojar.
Nurses comprise the biggest numbers among Filipino health workers. Nurses United Partylist estimates that seven of 10 health workers are nurses.
Abenojar said, “Therefore, our voices must be heard in the policy-making processes that will uplift our social, mental, economical, and physical condition. Fulfilled nurses and health workers can better serve patients in hospitals, clinics, and communities and help the country realize a health system that is truly compassionate and nurturing to nurses, health workers, and the Filipino people.”
The Nurses United Partylist is among the 270 partylists that filed their certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONA) from October 1 to October 8, 2021. They will vie for the 63 slots for the partylist representatives in the 2022 elections. (JJE, RTS)