MANILA – The results of an online panel survey conducted by political consultancy firm PUBLiCUS Asia, Inc. report almost unanimous support among respondents for providing medical frontliners with better pay amid the government’s decision to temporarily ban their deployment abroad in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
97.6% of the 1,000 Metro Manila residents aged 18-70 who participated in the NCR COVID-19 Online Panel Survey said they approve of “providing frontline medical service people (doctors, nurses, etc.) with additional pay.” This was the highest approval rating among the nine existing or proposed policies tested in the survey.
The fieldwork of the survey was conducted between April 2-6, 2020, just days before news outlets reported on Good Friday the temporary ban on the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers overseas. The ban reportedly took effect on April 2.
“Public clamor to provide better pay and benefits to healthcare workers is sure to grow even louder in the coming days and weeks as these brave Filipino heroes continue to fight at the frontlines of the country’s war against COVID-19,” said Mr. Aureli Sinsuat, PUBLiCUS Executive Director and spokesperson.
While Sinsuat acknowledged the government’s power to impose a ban on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in pursuit of the national interest or when public welfare so requires under Section 5 of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 8042 as amended), he noted that the deployment ban would cut off lucrative opportunities for Filipino healthcare workers abroad.
Western countries struggling to cope with high COVID-19 infection and death rates have been aggressively recruiting healthcare workers from the Philippines and other countries by offering expedited visa processes and significantly more generous salaries and benefits.
“There is no doubt that the national interest of the Philippines is well-served by this deployment ban as our healthcare system struggles under the heavy burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. This does not mean, however, that we should force Filipino healthcare workers to work for inferior pay in dangerous working conditions, all in the name of patriotism. The pay of Filipino healthcare frontliners should be commensurate to the importance of their work in our collective fight against COVID-19,” Sinsuat said.
The NCR COVID-19 Survey was conducted by PUBLiCUS and its in-house strategic research brand, VOX Opinion Research, in partnership with Singapore-based Lightspeed Research/Kantar Asia-Pacific from April 2-6.
Lightspeed conducted the fieldwork for the survey online by providing an online panel of 1,000 Metro Manila residents aged 18-70, sourced from its cultivated pool of 100,000 Philippine panelists. The survey data was processed and analyzed by VOX Opinion Research.
Lightspeed is now the Asia-Pacific headquarters of Kantar, a titan of the global data industry with a panel reach of 88 million respondents in 90 markets worldwide according to its website.
The NCR COVID-19 Survey aims to gauge public opinion on the following key indicators: (1) approval rating on the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in NCR; (2) approval ratings of key public officials and government entities in responding to the pandemic; (3) support for existing and proposed government measures to respond to the pandemic and provide aid to constituents in need; and (4) living standards of Metro Manila residents under the ECQ.
Reference: Mr. Aureli C. Sinsuat, PUBLiCUS Executive Director