President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today that the government will launch the Nurses Assigned in Rural Areas (NARS), a P500-million program to help Filipino nurses land short-term jobs in the country as part of their preparation for employment abroad.
Under the program, 5,000 Filipino nurses would be deployed to the country's 1,000 poorest municipalities at five nurses a municipality.
In her speech during the multi-sectoral jobs summit dubbed, "Joining Hands Against the Global Crisis" this morning at the Heroes’ Hall of Malacanang, the President said the nurses would be paid a monthly allowance of P8,000.
"If they are paid an allowance of P8,000 a month, and you have two six-month tours of duties of nurses, five nurses for each of the 1,000 poorest municipalities, that will cost less than half a billion pesos," the President said.
She called on Binalonan, Pangasinan Mayor Ramon Guico, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), to make LGUs come up with a counterpart fund of at least P2,000.
"I ask corporations to chip in as well – shirts can come from manufacturers, insurance, vitamins from pharmaceuticals, cellphones that will make the program truly a national enterprise with private equity," the President said.
The nurses would be deployed to rural areas to enable them gain the necessary training and experience needed for overseas employment.
Calling them "warriors for wellness," the President said nurses to be hired would be mobilized in their hometowns to undertake the three I's:
* Initiate primary health, school nutrition, maternal health programs, first-line diagnosis etc.;
* Inform, inform about community water sanitation practices and do health surveillance; and third,
* Immunize, immunize children and mothers.
"They shall also serve as roving nurses for rural schools," the President added.
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