FORMER Tourism secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano promised to correct the Capitol’s practice of outsourcing health workers and to boost their confidence by increasing salaries and giving them regular status, if he is elected Cebu governor.
In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Saturday, October 2, 2021, Durano said the need to hire plantilla personnel in the Province’s hospitals—a practice started when Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III was governor—became more important when the Covid-19 pandemic started early last year.
Durano said after Davide stepped down as governor in 2019, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia revamped her predecessor’s program to hire more doctors and other medical professionals and opted to outsource them instead.
Garcia’s move came five months before the country was placed on hard lockdown due to Covid-19.
“Medical personnel are facing a difficult situation right now. And in the case of those that are outsourced, they also have their salaries deducted by their agencies, which adds to their burdens even more. For me, providing plantilla positions and a high pay for doctors and other medical professionals is the only way to go if you want to improve the conditions of our provincial and district hospitals. Vice Gov. Junjun (Davide) did that when he was governor and I plan to reimplement it if given the chance,” Durano said in Cebuano.
Durano also hopes there will be more efforts to correct vaccine misinformation, which he said, led to vaccine hesitancy among Cebuanos.
Reacting to Garcia’s statement that he is a “worthy opponent,” Durano believes Garcia is running not only against him but also against Cebuanos who are discontented with how she implemented the Province’s pandemic response, including her mandatory requirement for passenger bus drivers and essential employees to buy air purifiers.
“I don’t think that I’m her opponent in this coming elections. If you can recall, she issued a statement that those who criticized her Covid-19 policies should run for governor against her. Her statement, which was addressed to those who criticized her ‘air purifier’ requirement, not only pushed me to run but also led to discontent among some of her constituents,” Durano added.
In August, Garcia required transport operators to secure air purifiers for their drivers and conductors and in September, she required all workers to wear one.
This, despite the Department of Health’s earlier statement that they don’t endorse the use of air purifiers, which it reiterated on August 16, 2021, three days after Garcia’s directive for drivers to use them. (JKV with PR)