Medical workers at Tondo Medical Center again conducted a picket-rally in front of the hospital last January 18.
Led by the Tondo Medical Center Employees Association—Alliance of Health Workers, the protesters called on the hospital management to stop the 16, 24 and 32-hours shifting system and to be paid for overtime work.
They agreed not to wait for the promised dialogue between the hospital management and health undersecretary Elmer Punzalan. They agreed to hold a dialogue instead with the hospital management the very next day.
On January 19, after a long negotiation with hospital director Dr. Victor Dela Cruz, TMCEA did not back down from its demands. And they won.
As a nurse, I have experienced 16-, 24- 32-hour shifts; from night to morning without rest. We only think of our patients, that’s why we are forced to do it. They could not affort private hospitals. So even though we ourselves are not feeling well or our children already miss us we still go on duty. We took an oath to be in this profession, but this is too much already. It is taking too heavy a toll on us. And we have been doing this for many years here at Tondo Hospital. - Cynthia Marcelo, Nurse I