Jinggoy highlights value of medical reserves pool in disasters, health crisis

SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has cited the importance of having an on-call medical reserve corps (MRC) who will respond to a range of local and national government emergencies. 

“Kaakibat ng paghahanda natin sa ‘The Big One’ na maaaring mag-iwan ng malaking pinsala sa iba’t ibang lugar sa ating bansa ay ang paglalatag ng mga contingency measures na tutugon sa medical at health emergencies sa mga ganitong sitwasyon, maging sa iba pang kalamidad,” Estrada said

In relation to this, the senator has sought the approval of Senate Bill 1017, or the proposed Medical Reserve Corps Act. 

In proposing the creation of the medical reserve corps, Estrada noted the unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the diverse and shifting needs of communities including those in the healthcare sector.

Under the proposed bill, members of the MRC who render service shall be compensated and accorded protection as provided by existing labor laws and standards, including allowances, medical care, hospitalization, other privileges, and benefits during the period of mobilization.

They shall also continue to receive their salaries, allowances, and other privileges and benefits from their regular employment during the mobilization period.

Under Estrada’s bill, no MRC member shall be held liable for the death or injury of any person, loss of, or damage to property of any person.

Recruits shall also be given compensation for their attendance in compulsory basic training on disaster and health emergency response. 

Licensed physicians who have already retired or are no longer practicing in the hospital setting and other licensed allied health professionals can be part of the MRC, while medical students who have completed four years of the medical course, graduates of medicine, and registered nurses may also render service pursuant to RA 2382, otherwise known as the Medical Act of 1959.

The President, upon the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) which shall have supervision and control of the MRC, may order the nationwide mobilization of the MRC to complement the AFP Medical Corps in case of a declaration of a state of war, state of lawless violence or state of calamity.

They may be mobilized partially or in full as necessary by the DOH.