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Bong Go files measure creating Medical Reserve Corps

August 19, 2022 - Friday 3:08 PM by GDM

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Citing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go filed a bill seeking to assemble a team of medical and health-related professionals who will help the government meet medical and healthcare needs during public health emergencies.

Senate Bill No. 1180, also known as the “Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Act of 2022,” seeks to establish a Medical Reserve Corps composed of licensed physicians, nurses, medical technologists, persons who have degrees in the field of medicine, nursing, medical technology and other health-related fields, members of the Reserve Force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the Medical Service, and administrative and technical personnel.

In his explanatory note, Go states that the increasing COVID-19 cases at the onset of the pandemic “overwhelmed both private and public hospitals in the country and their medical personnel are strained by the number of COVID-19 patients.”

He adds that “the lack of medical personnel in the midst of pandemic disease hinders the State's capacity to combat the disease immediately and effectively.”

Invoking the patriotism of Filipino healthcare workers, the senator hopes for the bill to uphold the role of medical and health-related personnel in nation-building; promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being; further inculcate in them patriotism and nationalism; and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.

If the measure is passed into law, the Department of Health will issue guidelines on the recruitment, selection and length of service of the MRC members. The DOH, in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management, will also determine and provide appropriate compensation and incentives for MRC members in order to encourage membership to the MRC.

In times of national emergencies and other contingencies, the members of the MRC may be called upon and mobilized to assist the national government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and local government units in their functions related to addressing the medical needs of the public.

The MRC may also be called upon and mobilized to assist in addressing the medical needs of the public through requests for deployment by the heads of such national government agencies or local government units submitted to the DOH.

Within 24 hours from receipt of the request for deployment, the DOH will evaluate the request and issue an Order of Deployment.

 Meanwhile, the DOH will be tasked to regularly publish an annual report containing a list of its accomplishments, status of its operations, number and demography of the Medical Reserve Corps, assessment of readiness for mobilization and the incidence and details of each mobilization for the year concerned.

As for members of the Corps already employed upon deployment, such deployment will not be a ground for dismissal or diminution of any benefit enjoyed by such graduates prior to their deployment. The members of the Corps will also be entitled to their regular wage or salary during the period of their deployment, should they be employed at the time of deployment.

The establishment of a Medical Reserve Corps was one of the priority measures mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. during his first State of the Nation Address in July.


 

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