UST employees’ unions urge admin to shoulder health permit cost

UST Main Building. File photo by Rainiel Angelyn Figueroa /THE FLAME

UST LABOR unions have called on the University administration to cover the expenses of medical procedures for securing a health permit, describing the Manila city government requirement as “financially burdensome.”

In a letter to acting rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P. dated July 3, Organisasyon ng Nagkakaisang Empleyado-UST (ONE-UST), a three-way coalition of labor unions in the University, sought a dialogue to discuss the newly-extended collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as a means to shoulder the cost of the health certificate. The deal consists of medical benefits for Thomasian employees.

READ: UST admin, support staff ink salary hike, benefits deal

“Our aim is to determine how best to utilize the CBA medical benefits to defray the costs of the laboratory procedures for obtaining the health permit mandated by the city government of Manila,” the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Flame, read.

The letter was signed by Emerito Gonzales, president of the UST Faculty Union, Dan Paul Patricio, president of Samahang Manggagawa-UST and Donell John Siazon, president of Ugnayan ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa-UST Hospital.

Last April, the UST Office of the Vice Rector for Finance (OVRF) directed all University teaching and non-teaching staff to obtain a health certificate from the Manila health department on or before May 31 in compliance with City Ordinance 8793 issued in 2021. Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna has agreed to move the deadline to July 31.

READ: Manila mayor extends health permit deadline

The ordinance requires employees to present a valid ID, stool and urine samples, a filled-out drug test form and biometrics. The employees must also pay a P625 total every year for the health permit renewal.

ONE-UST previously articulated the same request through separate letters sent to the rector’s office and the OVRF in May. Later on, Tiongco advised the unions to maximize the deal’s medical benefits for employees for the shouldering of health permit expenses.

“Requiring a health permit would unduly burden the employees of UST financially. The health permit would require employees to pay an amount of P625–not an insignificant amount considering it is above the minimum wage rate in the National Capital Region,” ONE-UST’s letter read.

“If possible, for the University to shoulder the costs of the health permit; or in the alternative, utilize the CBA medical benefits of the employees to defer the expenses of the procedures required for the health permit,” the coalition added.

The OVRF has not responded to the letter sent by the unions as of this writing.

Under Article XX Section 3 of the revised CBA, all regular personnel are entitled to free medical, optical and dental treatment, including annual check-ups and routine examinations such as urine and stool samples by the UST Hospital and Health Service.

Meanwhile, Article XXI of the deal states that medicines prescribed by the health service will be provided while a P1,500 medical allowance a month will also be supplied to regular non-teaching staff who purchased medicines and care items outside should the University’s pharmacy run out of stock.

The provisions do not cover the non-tenured or part-time employees of the University.

Article XXII also states that support staff who have completed at least one year of service will also be given free hospitalization and medical care for up to 31 days within any 12-month period provided that the total cost does not exceed P120,000.

The agreement runs for a period of five years from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2026.

However, the concerns over the Manila health ordinance is not limited to costs as some employees have also assailed the requirement to submit a stool sample every year and to collect specimens from crowded public facilities. F

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Contact Us