MANILA - Lawmakers are "willing" to allot payment for volunteer health workers equivalent to the regular salary of their counterparts who are newly-hired by government, Rep. Eric Go Yap said Sunday, as the country fights the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Health earlier apologized for offering P500 daily pay to volunteer doctors and nurses during their "month-long contribution," a rate criticized by some sectors.
Volunteer doctors should be hired and paid at least P50,000 a month, which is the entry-level salary grade for government-hired physicians, while nurses should receive at least P22,000, according to Dr. Geneve Reyes, secretary-general of Health Action for Human Rights.
"At dapat po, yung quarantine of 14 days after tour of duty, dapat sagutin nila yun," Reyes told ANC on Sunday.
Yap, of the ACT-CIS party list who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations, said it was possible to fund the volunteer health workers' recommended salary as government estimates more than P40 million should be earmarked for them.
"Kami po, willing po kami ibigay yun dahil sa totoo lang ngayon, parang giyera to eh. Pagka naging volunteer ka, hindi pwedeng sabihin na volunteer ka lang, extra lang yung trabaho mo," he told ANC in a separate interview.
Yap said Congress can suggest to the executive branch to source from the P275 billion fund earmarked for the crisis, any needs for the country's frontliners.
A proposed P1.6 billion supplemental budget may also be pushed, he said.
"Yung buhay po nila, tinataya nila para sa atin. So, nararapat lang po na bigyan sila ng bayad para sa mga doctors and nurses talaga."
As of Saturday, 593 "health warriors" have signed up to be assigned in 3 government hospitals designated for COVID-19 patients, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
The Philippines has so far recorded 1,075 cases of COVID-19, with 68 deaths and 35 recoveries.