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Medical reserve corps

Medical Reserve

WITH the increasing number of calamities and national emergencies in disaster-prone Philippines, today’s public discussions should be focused on the proposed Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

In the view of many, particularly the poor, the establishment of an MRC is an issue of urgency and importance in meeting the health needs of the people during typhoons, floods and pandemics.

Projections by experts and scientists that the problem of climate change will continue to worsen provide “a major challenge” for concerned government authorities throughout the globe.

Climate change or global warming is likely to adversely affect the health status of millions of people, including Filipinos, not only in the Asia-Pacific region but elsewhere, according to world experts.

In the Philippines, a House of Representatives panel — the Committee on Health — has approved a proposed piece of legislation that calls for the setting up of the medical reserve corps.

Headed by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, the committee approved the unnumbered substitute bill to House Bills 6809, 6821, 7007, 7157, 7267, 7274, 7331, 7361, 7365, 7383 and 7469.

Congresswoman Tan said volunteers would be assured of proper working conditions, compensation and benefits as well as malpractice insurance.

The MRC shall be composed of college graduates in the fields of medicine, nursing, medical technology and other health-related courses but have yet to have their respective licenses.

Under the bill, MRC volunteers may be called to undergo retraining to maintain and enhance their level of competency and readiness for mobilization in times of crises and national emergencies.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund (LRay) Villafuerte, one of the authors of the bill, said the lack of medical personnel is a key weakness in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Truth is, the proposed MRC will go a long way in addressing the country’s lack of health professionals, particularly medical doctors and nurses, due to the so-called “brain drain.