DOH urged to complete payment of special risk allowances to frontliners

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A hospital workers’ group called on the Department of Health (DOH) to immediately distribute the Special Risk Allowance (SRA) and other benefits to all medical frontliners. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — A hospital workers’ group called on the Department of Health (DOH) to immediately distribute the Special Risk Allowance (SRA) and other benefits to all medical frontliners.

Contrary to the DOH's claims, Private Hospital Workers Alliance of the Philippines (PHWAP) spokesperson Donell Siazon said the agency has yet to complete its payment of SRA to all healthcare workers

"What about our meal, accommodation, transportation, and life insurance compensation? This is what we expect but to no avail," Siazon, also the University of Sto. Tomas Hospital union president, said in a statement.

Numerous eligible healthcare workers have been complaining about not receiving a single centavo.

The DOH has also been under fire after the Commission on Audit flagged the department for "deficiencies" in the management of over ₱67 billion, earmarked for pandemic response.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), meanwhile, has released around ₱1.2 billion in total to compensate medical frontliners who attended to infected patients from December 20, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

The DBM also said another ₱407.08 million will be charged from the 2021 Contingent Fund to complete the allowance payments to 117,926 healthcare workers—not exceeding ₱5,000 per month in the covered period.

For Siazon, medical frontliners should be vigilant and should insist on the benefits that are rightfully theirs.

He also warned that the country will still not be able to rise above the health crisis if their grievances are not addressed.

"Need we remind everyone that this is not merely about the appropriate funds for just compensation but the very lives of our health workers," he said.

Chinese General Hospital Employees Association president Jess Obien also urged senators to respond to their grievances by including their needed allowances in the 2022 budget of DOH.

“We are worried that next year's budget will not correct the injustice inflicted on us,” Obien said.

“Their non-recognition of our just and legitimate demands after what healthcare workers and the general public have been going through in this pandemic is simply unacceptable,” Siazon added.

United Frontliners Party-list nominee Johann Evasco also argued that a Magna Carta for Frontliners should be passed by Congress.

“While there are laws for healthcare workers in the private and public sector, the pandemic situation manifests the need to broaden the government's concern to all frontliners who are sacrificing their life and limb in the health sector as well as other support services,” Evasco said.