Doctors’ Association Seeks Amendments to Laws to Further Code of Ethics


MANILA– The number of doctors leaving the Philippines for work abroad has dropped since last year, but that is no reason to fall into complacency. According to Dr. Oscar Tinio, president of the Philippine Medical Association, “nothing substantial is being done” to keep the doctors here. He said the “government should pay them well, upgrade their wages and working conditions.”

Most of the 3,000 doctors who left for jobs abroad in 2008 were “expert and experienced” doctors from public hospitals, said Dr. Tinio. Their sudden departure in 2008 had led to the closing down of some public hospitals for lack of doctors. Combined with the 30-percent drop in enrollment in medical schools, the surge in migrating doctors and in the number of doctors training to become licensed nurses instead had worried the health sector in 2008.

(Photo by Marya Salamat /

The drop in the number of migrating doctors has temporary allayed these worries, but if the government does not do something substantial, the health professionals’ mass migration appears bound to continue.

Dr. Tinio said some 6,000 doctors who had trained to work as nurses are still waiting for a chance to leave for overseas jobs. He said the only reason why less doctors appeared to have left after 2008 is the closure of the US health sector to them, for the time being. But he estimates that the US would eventually reopen itself to migrant health professionals, as they continue to have a need for them.

Some PMA Proposals

Of the country’s 111,000 registered doctors, only 69,000 are members of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA). Dr Tinio wants that to change. “We can better police our ranks if we are integrated,” he told the media. The group also wants more teeth in laws that could help them enforce their Code of Ethics.

(Photo by Marya Salamat /

One of the things they said they are currently working on is putting a cap to doctors’ professional fees, as some have reportedly been “really exorbitant.”

“We’re not saying we will curtail the charging of fees. It just has to be regulated,” Dr. Tinio said.

Dr Tinio said they are also pushing for amending laws pertaining to the medical profession, including the definition of “services to mankind,” the process of updating the curriculum, the “overly strict” provisions of the law against organ transplant, among others. (

Share This Post

One Comment - Write a Comment

  1. Why are there many Filipino doctors who have very high egos and are disrespectful to many patients and even to nurses?

Comments are closed.