MANILA — The budget department has released some P7.9 billion for the allowance of frontliners in the COVID-19 response, Malacañang said on Friday.
"Bilang pagtalima sa atas ni Pangulong Duterte, ini-release na ng Department of Budget and Management ang appropriated amount of P7.92 billion sa Department of Health para sa One COVID-19 Allowance," said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
(In accordance with the directive of President Duterte, the Department of Budget and Management has released the appropriated amount of P7.92 billion to the Department of Health for the One COVID-19 Allowance.)
This will benefit at least 526,727 eligible public and private healthcare professionals and non-health workers who are involved in the COVID-19 response, he said in a press briefing.
"High-risk" workers will get P9,000 per month, while those facing moderate and low risk are entitled to P6,000 and P3,000, respectively, Nograles said.
"Ibibigay nang buo ang benepisyo, provided na ang health professional ay kailangan mag-report physically for at least 96 hours per month. Otherwise, the benefit shall be prorated," he said.
(The benefit will be given in full, provided that the health professionally physically reported for work for at least 96 hours per month.)
Video courtesy of PTV
The One COVID-19 Allowance "streamlined" benefits that workers previously received, including hazard pay, and allowance, meal and transportation allowances, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Kung dati po kailangan naming i-validate at i-compute per specific allowance, ngayon po nasa isang lumpsum na po siya na ibibigay natin sa health workers according to their risk classification," she said in the Palace press briefing.
"Lesser na po ang tsansa para ma-delay ang pag-release natin ng kanilang mga allowances," added the official.
(If we previously had to validate and compute per specific allowance, it will now be given in one lump to our health workers according to their risk classification. There is lesser chance that their allowances will be delayed.)
However, a group of nurses earlier said frontliners were "shortchanged" with the new allowance scheme.
"Instead of finding additional funding for the benefits due for our health workers, they tried to reduce the budget such that they have compromised the health workers' health and safety," Filipino Nurses United president Maristela Abenojar told ANC's "Rundown" last month.
"We strongly denounce the proposal for a one singular allowance now known as One COVID-19 Allowance for the health workers because we feel that this gives little regard to the selfless work and sacrifices exerted by our health workers in this time of pandemic," she added.