Residency rule, pay issues jam hiring of town doctor

VITAL SIGNS Louise Rada being examined by Dr. Eduardo Fillaro at the consultation room.

By: Flory Ann Tacuban

THE town of Tubungan, Iloilo is a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA).

Its Rural Health Unit (RHU) has been operating without a permanent doctor for almost a year after its previous municipal health officer retired on Dec 31, 2018.

Tubungan Mayor Roquito Tacsagon said they have a hard time hiring a doctor to permanently work in the RHU due to the Civil Service Localization Program which require applicants to be a native of the area of assignment.

Donnabelle Quendipan, a medical doctor and psychiatrist, agreed to have a contract of service with the Local Government Unit (LGU) as a temporary doctor on Jan 22, 2019 but resigned last Aug 2 because of personal reasons.

“We published and posted hiring for interested Tubunganon doctors if they are willing to apply but unfortunately no native doctors applied,” Tacsagon said.

Tacsagon said that the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 6 told him that it is very difficult to hire rural doctors nowadays because of low income offered by local government units (LGU).

“Doctors doing private practice earn a lot amounting to not less than P5,000 per day whereas, rural doctors in the LGU, income is based on the salary grade and it is fixed and you can’t do anything about it,” he said.

He explained that the LGU asked for assistance of DOH-6 to avail the Doctor to the Barrio Program (DTTB) as an alternative.

In answer to the LGU’s request, Dr. Salvacion dela Cruz, Medical Offiver IV was temporarily deployed from Sept 9 to 30 to temporarily augment the health services needs.

Dr. Eduardo Fillaro, being the sole applicant for the RHU post, started working on Oct 1.

“Dr. Fillaro is now processing his papers to be employed by the DOH as a permanent doctor and if he stays within six months in Tubungan, he can be considered as a resident,” Tacsagon added.

Tacsagon said that the LGU is doing everything to ensure that this issue will be addressed as soon as possible.

Tuod nga may ospital sa Guimbal pero rayo kun taga bukid kaw ma plete ka pa kag kun may doctor lang man sa sentro, pareho lang man serbisyo,” according to Roqueta Gonzales, a resident of the town.

Municipal Health Officer in Charge Vilma Gargaritano said doctors are very much needed when emergency arises considering that many barangays are far flung.

Naluoy man kami nga gadulhog ang tawo dya sa banwa para mapa konsulta pay wara ti doctor. Indi man bi naton mapaktan kung sino and ma-assign duman,” a local health worker Marivic Matillano said.

“Our target is effective and efficient service to the people of Tubungan that is why we are doing our best to solve our health concerns as much as possible nga matigunan ta sa gilayon ang kinahanglanon kang pumuluyo,” Tacsagon stressed.