Duterte approves mandatory benefits, compensation for health care workers amid pandemic

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2022 06:45 PM

Health workers spend time outside the emergency room of San Juan De Dios Hospital in Pasay City on January 12, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file
Health workers spend time outside the emergency room of San Juan De Dios Hospital in Pasay City on January 12, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA ⁠— President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a measure seeking to provide mandatory benefits, allowances, and compensation to public and private health workers as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers.

Under the Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers Act, public and private health care workers and non-health care workers in hospitals, vaccination sites, labs, and treatment facilities, among other sites, will get an allowance and other benefits during the state of public health emergencies.

"The State recognizes the critical role of health care workers in providing quality health care to and ensuring disease prevention in the general population, especially in times of national public health emergencies," Republic Act No. 11712, which Duterte signed on Wednesday but made public only Friday, showed.

Government will distribute P3,000 allowance every month to healthcare workers working in low-risk areas, P6,000 to medium-risk locations, and P9,000 in high-risk places.

A health worker who contracts severe or critical COVID-19 case in line of duty will receive P100,000 while those who experienced mild to moderate virus case will receive P15,000. 

In case of a health worker's death, their heirs will receive P1 million.

A health worker who contracts severe or critical COVID-19 case will receive P100,000 while those who experienced mild to moderate virus case will receive P15,000. 

In case of a health worker's death, their heirs will receive P1 million.

The law also includes non-health workers, or outsourced personnel who were exposed to COVID-19 in their line of work or other dangers during a public health emergency. 

Various issues hounded the government and the health sector as they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many saying benefits were delayed or allegedly not given at all. 

The Department of Health earlier this year said the special risk allowance and active hazard duty pay would be replaced with One COVID-19 Allowance, which the agency described as more inclusive and responsive, drawing the ire of health care workers. 

Under the agency's Administrative Order No. 2022-0001, those considered high risk or directly catering to COVID-19 patients will receive P9,000 per month; moderate risk or working in a health facility will be given P6,000; and low risk or no direct contact with COVID-19 patients will get P3,000.

"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," a group of nurses earlier said. 

The DOH had said it was streamlining its processes to ensure the equitable and prompt distribution of benefits.

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