MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday vowed to release the pending allowance and benefits of health personnel who had worked at the height of COVID-19.
"Upang masuklian natin ang naging sakripisyo ng ating health workers sa pribado at pampubliko na mga ospital noong nakaraang pandemya ipapamahagi na sa kanila ang kanilang COVID health emergency allowance at iba pang mga nabinbing benepisyo," Marcos declared during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Health care workers have continuously lamented the delay in receiving the additional benefits. Alliance of Health Workers President Robert Mendoza said previously that almost 69.41 percent of health workers had not received the benefits as of February this year.
"Sa public hospital, including ‘yung mga district, regional ay 31.6 percent, at sa private, meron pang marami pa talaga, 22.31 percent ang hindi pa nakakatanggap," Mendoza said.
Health Secretary Ted Herbosa has assured that healthcare workers will get their unpaid benefits.
"I'll get on top of this kasi I feel our nurses are our real priority... I really love the nurses because they are our health care system," Herbosa said. "As long as the documentation is there, they should be paid."
Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte earlier urged Herbosa to release the P12.57 billion balance out of the P19.96 billion worth of COVID-19 benefits and allowances for health care and non-healthcare workers.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last week ended the country's state of public health emergency for COVID-19, which effectively lifted all coronavirus protocols such as mask-wearing and physical distancing in public transportation. But emergency use authorizations granted to COVID vaccines will still be valid for a year to use up the remaining shots.
Despite the lifting of the health emergency, the Department of Health said health care workers will continue to receive their hazard pay and other benefits.