EMPLOYEE unions want UST to use existing health benefits to pay for the cost of the health permit now imposed by the City of Manila.

Presidents of the UST Faculty Union, Samahang Manggagawa ng UST, and Ugnayan ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng UST Hospital wrote Acting Rector  Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P., on July 3 urgently requesting a meeting. 

“We sincerely hope that a conversation on this matter can commence soon,” the letter by the Organisasyon ng Nagkakaisang Empleyado ng UST (ONE-UST) read. “We believe that a collaborative approach will be beneficial in ensuring that the interests of all parties are considered and addressed effectively.”

UST’s collective bargaining agreement with faculty, containing terms and conditions of work, waives payment for certain routine procedures like scans, blood tests, and stool exams when administered at the Health Service and UST Hospital.

However, the Manila Health Department requires that the drug test, urinalysis and stool exam be conducted at the often crowded public health laboratory on Alvarez Street, the former site of the Sta. Cruz Public Library. 

To secure a health permit, which is mandatory for all employees in Manila, applicants must pay P625 for laboratory procedures. The amount excludes the cost of X-rays, which must be obtained from a hospital.

Mimeographed drug test consent and specimen custody and control forms, consisting of just three pages, are sold in a store across the former library site for P10 each, without official government receipts.

Only 850 of the 1,700 faculty members and 800 support staff in UST, have complied with the mandatory health permit as of June 21. 

Mayor Honey Lacuna deferred the health permit deadline to July 31 from May 31 after the UST unions wrote to her office. 

Union presidents have also proposed setting up a satellite office in UST where the collection and testing of specimens and payment of fees could be done.

Health permits have become a requirement to operate a business in Manila after the passage of Manila Ordinance 8793, or the Sanitation and Disinfection Code of the City of Manila, in late 2021. 

Only professionals who have obtained the yearly professional tax receipt, such as lawyers, doctors, and licensed teachers, are exempted from the permit based on the Local Government Code. 


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