DOH apologizes for P500 daily allowance for COVID-19 hospital volunteers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2020 08:50 PM

A health worker crosses the bridge on Ortigas Avenue going to Pasig City on March 17, 2020 after public transportation has been ordered not to operate by the government. President Duterte ordered the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and the island of Luzon to halt the continuing spread of COVID-19. Fernando G. Sepe Jr. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Health on Saturday apologized to the public after it drew flak for allotting a P500 daily allowance to health frontliners battling the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), saying they are working on measures to increase compensation for health volunteers.

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said the department understands the public's concern and is working on compensation for health workers battling the disease.

"Humihingi rin po kami ng tawad kung ang impresyon na naibigay ng P500 daily allowance ay ganito lamang ang halaga na binibigay natin sa ating health care workers. Hindi po ito mas lalayo pa sa katotohanan," Vergeire said in a press briefing.

She clarified the allowance was based on the allowances they normally give as protocol for outbreak response.

"'Yang P500 po na 'yan ay inilagay sa ating protocol. Allowance po 'yan na inilagay natin para merong pang-araw araw ang ating health care workers. Ito po ay binase namin sa allowance na ibinigay namin sa volunteers sa nakaraang mga outbreak response," she said.

DOH had earlier released a call-out for volunteers, where doctors doctors, nurses, and nursing assistants would be paid P500 per day during a "month-long contribution.”

Accommodations and food will be provided for most volunteers but without any benefits, aside from a compensation package for health workers who may contract the disease.

Vergeire said they are working on allotting more compensation for volunteering health workers after a supplemental budget was given the green light.

"Ang majority ng budget ay napupunta sa PPEs. Ngayon nabigyan ng supplemental budget inaayos ang paghahati ng pera para mapaglaanan ng mga bagay tulad ng compensation para sa health workers, pag-aayos ng benefit packages," she said.