Are the majority of public health workers aware that Philippine Public Health Association (PPHA) is still existing? Do they know the association’s efforts to help upgrade the delivery of public health services in the country?
After 1993, a decline in membership of PPHA was noted. It was due to the transfer of devolved health workers to LGUs when devolution of health services pursuant to R.A 7160 was implemented and due to lack of sustainable leadership that existed because of demoralization of significant number of public health workers.
The disparity of salary and benefits received between devolved and nationally paid health workers, including the former’s inequitable treatment by local government officials had divided the public health workers.
At the hind sight, Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, experimented on health delivery system by setting apart the public health workers into two (2) groups like guinea pigs. One group is assigned to a relatively secured employment and economic status-those retained by the national government and the other group is assigned in employment uncertainty and partial deprivation-those devolved to LGUs.
In other words, while R.A 7160 had passed through seemingly acceptable procedural processes before its adoption, still, it is in reality grossly immoral, as all health workers were granted the same rights and privileges prior to the passage of law but the significant numbers were later exposed by law to a great deal of misery and controversies without consent and prior consultation with them while it was still being deliberated in Congress. Was there a violation of the constitutional due process?
Be that as it may, there is a need for devolved health workers, the nationally paid health personnel and potential members, in and out of government service, to re-organize and convert the PPHA and all organizations related to health workers’ profession into a single potent body to effect some change. The common adversary is the inequity under the law and PPHA is providing an avenue to once and for all “help upgrade the delivery of public health services”.