What it does: The Department of Health creates policies, regulates health products and services, and sets health guidelines in the Philippines.
Best known for: being the highest technical authority for health products, regulations, and standards in the country
Staff stats: more than 10,000 employees
Financials: Php210.20 billion in the annual budget for FY 2021
The good bits: Fresh grads at the DOH may earn up to Php21,000 per month because of the Salary Standardization Law.
The not-so-good bits: Most entry-level roles are contract-based positions, which limits an employee’s career path at the DOH.
The DOH traces its historical roots from its predecessor in 1898, the Department of Public Works, Education, and Hygiene. After World War II, the department underwent several name changes and reorganizations until 1986.
By 2010, the DOH launched the Universal Health Coverage program as the new health platform in the Philippines. Aside from developing health programs, the department also creates health policies and regulates the healthcare industry.
The DOH has the fourth-largest share of the national budget as of the Fiscal Year 2021. The Philippine government allotted Php210.20 billion, primarily for COVID-19 response and measures.
Insiders said that understaffed teams at the DOH lead to overworked employees. Health crises such as the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 also increases the occupational hazards for front liners.
For this reason, fresh grads should be ready to cope with the challenges of an unequal work-life balance. Many employees work during weekends and holidays, aside from rendering long hours.
Despite the challenges, insiders described the workplace environment as productive with friendly colleagues. Some insiders said that if the DOH were to hire them as permanent employees, they wouldn’t hesitate to come back.
Several senators called for an investigation of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) corruption scandal in 2020. Thorsson Montes Keith, former PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer, said that the officials allegedly stole around Php15 billion of funds.
In 2021, the DOH partnered with the British Cambridge College for a series of resilience workshops. The sessions aim to strengthen Filipino healthcare professionals’ mental and emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Successful candidates at the DOH should prepare a contingency plan once they accept a job offer. There’s no guarantee that the department may renew employment contracts after the stated duration.
New hires should also have the right mindset and physique to overcome challenges, particularly health risks during unprecedented times.
Fresh grads should anticipate up to five recruitment rounds at DOH after they apply for vacant positions. In general, the process may follow this procedure:
Candidates won’t be eligible for most jobs unless they acquire Civil Service Eligibility. Professional graduates should also have a license from the Professional Regulation Commission.
Based on previous applicants’ experience, the DOH has a difficult interview process. Fresh grads may take a pre-employment exam immediately after the interview.
The DOH may skip the exam for certain roles and proceed with a final interview. At this point, candidates should prepare to meet with officers from different departments.
Depending on the role, the DOH may extend a job offer one week after completing the recruitment process.
Fresh grads can’t negotiate their compensation packages because of the Salary Standardization Law in the Philippines. Like other government agencies, the DOH follows a salary grade (SG) table.
Entry-level roles at the department usually belong to SG 10 and SG 11 designations. An SG 10 employee earns Php21,205 per month, while SG 11 employees earn Php23,877 per month.
On the other hand, nurses belong to the SG 15 category with a monthly salary of Php33,575. The DOH provides several benefits for those who are hired for COVID-19 response:
These benefits include allowances (eg communication, transportation, hazard pay, hospitalization coverage, and monthly salary premiums (20% of basic pay).
Fresh grads may find it difficult to land a permanent job at the DOH. The department advertises most of the entry-level positions under a ‘contract of service’. Some of these roles include administrative assistants, computer programmers, and supply officers.
These roles work on a specific designation from the accounting section to vaccination centres in local government units. Administrative assistants completed a bachelor’s degree that’s relevant to their jobs.
A computer programmer at the DOH completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology. Some contract-based employees may only work for as short as six months.
The DOH may assign supply officers to the management support services divisions. These employees have a bachelor’s degree in any course.
The lack of manpower during a pandemic has prompted the DOH to launch emergency hiring initiatives. Fresh grads with relevant bachelor’s degrees may apply as midwives, nurses, pharmacists, social welfare officers, and science research analysts.