MANILA - Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday urged employers to provide hazard pay for non-medical frontliners like janitors and security guards in hospitals, saying they are equally exposed to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The government should come up with a special assistance package for low-income, non-medical frontliners who are required to physically go to hospitals during the pandemic, Recto said in a statement.
"Why should we not, when we've given tens of billions of ayuda (assistance) to people who are just staying in their homes?" Recto said.
"Government is readying billions to bail out companies habang itong mga hospital workers na ito, na nagbubuwis ng buhay, wala man lang tayong maiabot," he said.
(Government is readying billions to bail out companies while these hospital workers, who are also risking their lives, get nothing.)
While security guards and janitors do not perform the same functions as doctors and nurses, they are "unheralded" but "important cogs that keep hospitals running," the senator said.
"In the war against COVID-19, they report to their battle stations everyday with the smallest of compensations," he said.
"Without them, a hospital will collapse," Recto said, noting that maintenance workers should also be considered as "virus killers" who keep the disease at bay "one scrub, one mop, one wipe at a time."
As of mid-August, Congress has yet to pass the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill into law, which is expected to enable government to spend P140 billion in aid packages to various sectors.