PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has vowed to pursue measures that will further lift the benefits of the country’s nurses amid their continued sacrifices for the country, especially despite the risk posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.Marcos graced the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Philippine Nurses Association held at the Manila Hotel on Thursday, September 1, 2022.He said no amount of money will ever be enough to compensate for the sacrifices, dedication and compassion of the nurses, especially amid the country’s fight against Covid-19 where they had to risk their lives as well as the safety of their families to fulfill their duties and responsibilities of their chosen profession.“Thank you, wholeheartedly, for your sacrifices and significant contributions to society,” said Marcos.”Sa palagay ko kulang pa ‘yan eh. Medyo hirap tayo sa pondo ngayon kaya’t sa ngayon ganyan lang muna. Pero palagay ko binubuhay niyo ‘yung may sakit, e. Ibang usapan ‘yan, mahirap lagyan ng dolyar, ng piso, ‘yung trabahong ginagawa ninyo,” he added.(I think [the allowances the government provides] are still not enough. We’re a bit tight on funds right now, so that’s it for now. But you are reviving the sick. That’s a different story, it’s hard to put dollars, pesos, into the work you do.)The President was referring to the over 25.82 billion worth of various allowances disbursed to nurses, as of August 19, 2022, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.Marcos said his office will always be open for meaningful dialogue to address the issues concerning the nurses and other allied healthcare professionals.He said he has taken “special note” of the clamor to address issues in the nursing profession by the passage of the new Philippine Nursing Practice Act.“This Executive Department together with Congress will work with you to achieve these goals. As part of our goal to raise the profile and improve the working condition of nurses, we seek to address the disparity in salaries between nurses in government hospitals and the private sector,” said Marcos.He said they also aim to address the uneven distribution of nurses in different areas across the country by fixing systems to increase the number of health facilities, benefits and address concerns on security of tenure.Marcos said his government will also pursue programs that support the continuous development of Filipino nurses such as the Nursing Certification Program which strengthens and certifies the nurses’ competencies in various specialty areas, and the Primary Care Workers Certification Program which provides eligibility requirements, standard competencies, training mechanisms and certification process that ensure competent and quality staffing for the country’s healthcare system.He also ensured support to the leadership courses for public health nurses that aims to capacitate nurses to provide quality health services and become skilled leaders and managers.He said the government will continue to offer service postgraduate scholarship programs to continually enhance the nurses’ competencies through formal education.“We will not stop in providing programs that improve your capacity as nurses. we will continue to provide you with the benefits you deserve as healthcare workers,” said Marcos.The government, particularly the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte, has been riddled with complaints by nurses due to the lack of or delayed release of their allowances under the Bayanihan Law amid the Covid-19 pandemic.(SunStar Philippines)