“Unjust, inhumane, morally degrading,” these were the general sentiments of 166 Job Order/Contractual Personnel summarily dismissed last June 30, 2011 by the DOH central office from further undertaking the health program Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) under the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC). Among them were 75 registered nurses that comprise 46% of the total project workforce.
As per the account of “Mark”, one of the field nurses, they learned of their termination late afternoon of June 30, 2011, from Ms. Vivencia Martinez, NCDPC Administrative officer who instructed 166 of them not to report for work anymore effective the following day Friday, July 1, 2011 because, according to her, NCDPC Director IV Dr. Lilibeth David said their Contracts have already ended. Then, at exactly 5 p.m. of the same day, a memo was posted signed by Dr. Kenneth Ronquillo, Director IV of the Health Human Resource Development Bureau (HHRDB) affirming said order with further advise for them to undergo a clearance process for the release of their last salary for service rendered between June 15 to 30, 2011.
“We were stunned and many were devastated of the sudden and unexpected termination of our contracts. Many of us nurses just arrived from an exhausting field work doing measles immunization where we really scoured the remotest villages to ensure that young children were given the measle shots.”
He said that the action of the present NCDPC management team under Dr. Lilibeth David was illegal if not questionable because the workers have already signed a contract for July-December 2011 under the former NCDPC head Director IV Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo prior to his transfer to his current assignment at Center for Health and Development-NCR. The contract signing was done in May 2011 after a satisfactory job performance evaluation of the workers that served as basis for the renewal of their contracts from July to December, 2011.
Aggravating this “injustice” was the holding and non-release of the workers’ last salary and reimbursements of work-related expenses. Not only were they not given due notice of their termination, they were also deprived of the salary that they have already worked for therefore rightfully theirs.
A petition signed by some of the terminated workers, including nurses, appealing for an immediate resolution of the case has been submitted to the Office of the Secretary, Dr. Enrique Ona; no response yet. A complaint has also been filed with the Ombudsman and a letter was likewise submitted to the legal department of the Department of Health.