The Philippine Consulate General on Saipan is “closely” monitoring the situation at the Commonwealth Health Center owing to the Filipino workers employed by the islands' lone public hospital who are affected by the ongoing crisis.
Consul General Medardo Macaraig said yesterday that the monitoring is done through reports by various media outlets since they have not met with anyone from the hospital administration and the local government nor have they received any requests for assistance or complaints from CHC's Filipino employees.
“We are monitoring it because of any labor problems that may arise,” he said in an interview. “We note from newspapers and the television that there is a problem at CHC.”
CHC was put under a state of emergency on Tuesday and the Department of Finance transferred some $800,000 or the remainder of the $5 million “seed” money for the hospital since it became a corporation last October.
The amount covered the payroll for hospital employees, some of whom also have not received several months' worth of their housing allowance.
That same day, outpatient clinics at the hospital were temporarily closed until further notice last Tuesday afternoon. These are the Family Care Clinic, the Women's Clinic, and the Children's Clinic.
Macaraig is concerned about the hospital situation given that Filipinos comprise a significant number of CHC's workforce.
Saipan Tribune learned that in the nursing department alone, about 85 percent of the 141 current nurses are Filipinos. Some of these staff serve as volunteers for the Consulate's quarterly health screenings.
“It doesn't help that CHC is facing these problems, with the Consulate closing down soon,” Macaraig said.
The Consulate's last day to serve the Filipino community in the Commonwealth is on Oct. 31.
“We will have our counterparts in Guam to continue monitoring the CHC situation once we shut down since we will be transferring our responsibilities to them,” added Macaraig.