Intensifying her campaign ‘Agtultuloy nga asikaso, ad-adu pay a trabaho,’ which was launched on her State of the Province Address (SOPA) on 2013, Governor Imee Marcos finally launched Saguip Nars Program on March 28, 2014 to address the growing unemployment as well as underemployment rate of nurses in the province.Thru the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) Task Force Trabaho (TFT), the first batch composed of 100 registered nurses will be deployed in different district hospitals and barangays in the province for six months—three-month hospital duty and three-month Rural Health Unit (RHU) duty.
“The program is part of Governor Imee’s Poverty Eradication Agenda through providing and creating more jobs for every Ilocano. Saguip Nars is PGIN’s thrust in helping and assisting our fresh graduate nurses as well as board passers while searching for permanent jobs,” Provincial Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Head Nicole Rudio said.
Rudio added that “after their six-month duty, they (nurses) will be given free soft skills training—resumé writing, job interview and other necessary skills—to prepare them further for their future careers.”
Thru the Saguip Nars Program, Governor Imee believes that the nurses’ exposure to public health care will help their own municipalities as well as help them gain experience that will contribute to their target of two-year clinical experience.
“The experience will contribute to the two-year minimum requirement of experience and at the same time keep (their) professional skills going,” Governor Imee said during the initial interview and screening at La Tabacalera Function Hall.
Dr. Juanito Chua, Chief Executive Officer of Ilocos Norte Hospital Management Council, said their service is fundamentally voluntary experience—with a minimum monthly incentive of P5,000. However, the beneficiaries will gain Certificate of Employment from their respective place of appointment which is very important for their future job applications.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Arthur Gambalan said the nurses will help and join their force in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by reducing child mortality rate, improving maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Aiming to provide sustainable support to the nurses in the province, Governor Imee disclosed that the PGIN TFT is currently negotiating with online health care companies in order to provide them more job opportunities.
“Hopefully makakuha tayo ng online health care, ‘yung digital nursing and digital services…BPOs, non-voice call centers and other groups na sana makatulong. Siyempre preference talaga nila medical sciences. Kung hindi nurse, medtech, physical therapy and so on. Hopefully we will be able to address this sudden gap in jobs sa ating health care sector,” Governor Imee said.
In addition, Governor Imee said the province will now have its own school of medicine as Mariano Marcos State University opens its College of Medicine this June.
Aiza Viloria, 26 year-old applicant, said the program is a good start for nurses who previously lacked chances to fully exercise their profession.
After passing the nursing board exam on 2008, Viloria worked as a volunteer nurse in a hospital for two years and is currently a plain housewife.
Admitting the lack of job opportunities for nurses nowadays, Irish Mae Allyson Valenzuela of Paoay, Ilocos Norte also admired the program because their “experience in working for their community will serve as a stepping stone for the nurses especially the fresh graduates.”
Valenzuela, 21 years old, is a volunteer nurse at the Philippine National Red Cross-Ilocos Norte Chapter for three months now.
The launching of Saguip Nars in Ilocos Norte revived the optimism of the 174 applicants to pursue their chosen profession.
Meanwhile, Governor Imee assured that the PGIN will continue strengthening ‘Agtultuloy nga asikaso, ad-adu pay a trabaho’ campaign through generating jobs mainly from ‘ATM—Agribusiness, Tourism and Manufacturing’ in order to provide more job opportunities to all Ilocanos.—Jennifer T. Pambid, PGIN-CMO