Barangay Health Workers and Private Healthcare Workers from the Philippines Unite on May Day


Barangay Health Workers and Private Healthcare Workers from the Philippines Unite on May Day

More than 400 barangay health workers (BHWs) and private healthcare workers joined forces with labor groups on May Day, demanding living wages for all, the immediate release of Health Emergency Allowance (HEA), and the passage of the Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers that guarantees the rights of BHWs in the Philippines.

Myrna Gaite, President of the BHW National Capital Region Federation, expressed the significance of this collective action, “Our voices cannot be ignored any longer. It’s high time BHWs receive the recognition, protection, and support they deserve through the enactment of a magna carta.”

The Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers is landmark legislation aimed at safeguarding the welfare and interests of hundreds of thousands of Filipino BHWs. The upcoming Senate Hearing on May 20 holds pivotal importance in determining the passage of this crucial bill, which will provide much-needed protection and recognition for the vital role BHWs play in community healthcare.

Meanwhile, private health workers continue to demand the immediate release of their HEA, amidst ongoing crackdown on union rights. Jesus Obien, President of Unified Filipino Service Workers (UFSW) and lead convenor of United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (UPHUP), highlighted the alarming trend of harassment faced by union leaders in the healthcare sector, “The harassment and violence targeting union leaders in the healthcare sector are unacceptable. We must put an end to these attacks and ensure that workers’ rights are respected.”

Both private healthcare workers and BHWs continue to await the disbursement of their long-overdue HEA, despite the COVID-19 pandemic having concluded over a year ago.

Bro. Roland De La Cruz, President of UNI Global Union – Philippine Liaison Council, reiterated UNI Global Union’s steadfast support for BHWs and healthcare workers in their fight for their rights and welfare. “UNI remains committed to standing with BHWs and healthcare workers as they advocate for dignified working conditions and fair treatment. Together, we will continue to push for meaningful change and ensure that workers’ voices are heard.”

Rajendra Acharya, UNI Global Union Asia & Pacific Regional Secretary, expressed strong support for the healthcare workers’ actions. “The solidarity shown by the barangay and private healthcare workers is a powerful statement against the systemic inequities in our health systems. UNI Global Union Asia & Pacific is fully behind our Filipino colleagues in their fight for fairness and the securement of their rights,” said Acharya.

This initiative is backed by UNI Global Union through Together We Care, a groundbreaking initiative to enhance women’s economic security by fostering a skilled, empowered workforce in the health and care sectors supported by USAID, the Ford Foundation and the CARE Fund.

The Philippines

UNI Asia & Pacific