House panel OKs bill granting public health emergency benefits for health workers

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2022 02:09 PM

MANILA - The House Committee on Appropriations has approved a bill that grants mandatory continuing benefits to public and private health workers and barangay health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and in future public health emergencies.

The bill, co-authored by Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Joy Myra Tambunting, Angelica Natasha Co, Alfred Vargas, and Luis Raymund "LRay" Villafuerte Jr., also funds the implementation of the proposal.

Under the proposed Public Health Emergency Benefits for Health Workers Act, a Special risk allowance (SRA) must be granted for all health workers for every month of service during the state of public health emergency based on their risk exposure categories.

Those deployed in "low risk areas" must be given at least P3,000 per month; at least P6,000 per month for those in "medium risk areas"; and at least P9,000 per month for those in "high risk areas".

The bill likewise seeks to provide Active Hazard Duty Pay worth P5,000 for every month served by the health workers, on top of the existing benefits that the health workers receive.

The measure provides life insurance, accommodation, transportation, and meals allowance for health workers regardless of the community quarantine status.

It also provided compensation for covered health workers who have contracted COVID-19 and such other disease or illness in the line of duty during a state of public health emergency:

-In case of death, P1,000,000 will be provided to the heirs of the covered individuals;

-In case of sickness, for a severe or critical case, P100,000 will be provided to the covered individuals; and,

-In case of sickness, for a mild or moderate case, P15,000 will be provided to the covered individuals.

Full PhilHealth coverage for health workers who are admitted to a hospital with confirmed COVID-19 infection, and such other disease or illness during a public health emergency in the future is also guaranteed, as well as mandatory testing of health workers every (15) days or as often as necessary.

The funding for the initial implementation of the measure will be charged against the current year’s appropriations for the Department of Health. 

The bill will be endorsed to the plenary session for the approval of the entire House of Representatives.

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