MANILA—A group of nurses on Tuesday criticized the "unequal" distribution of their special risk allowance (SRA), because only those with direct contact to COVID-19 patients are eligible to receive it.
Melbert Reyes, national president of Philippine Nurses Association, said some nurses have yet to receive their SRA this year.
"Kaya sana po dapat 'yung lahat ng health-care workers mabigyan ng SRA para hindi masyadong komplikado itong bagay na 'to," he told Teleradyo.
(That's why we're hoping all health-care workers will be given their SRA, that way it wouldn't be too complicated.)
He said only those assigned in COVID-19 wards were eligible for the allowance, while those in emergency rooms were ruled out.
Even those who received the SRA had to work with COVID-19 patients for 22 days to receive it in full, amounting to P5,000, he added.
"Hindi po siya katulad ng ayuda na ibinibigay sa mga kababayan natin na walang kondisyon. Ito pong sa ating mga health workers may kondisyon po 'yan," Reyes said.
(It's not like the cash aid given to the public. That is handed out without condition. For health workers, there is a condition.)
In June, the Department of Budget and Management released the P9.02-billion fund allotted for the SRA of public and private health workers attending to COVID-19 patients.
The funds covered the payment of the special risk allowances not exceeding P5,000 per month from December 20, 2020 to June 30.
In the interview, Reyes said he also couldn't blame medical frontliners quitting their jobs despite the still raging pandemic.
In the private sector, nurses get paid between P10,000 to P25,000, he said. Public hospitals pay better with a starting salary of P33,000 but only few positions are being offered, he added.
"Hindi po natin masisi ang mga nurses natin sapagkat they are demoralized. Sobra na po 'yung pagod ng mga health workers at hindi na nila kinakaya," he said.
"Tapos ikukumpara nila 'yung natatanggap sa hirap at sakripisyo na natatanggap nila ay para po talagang nakakapanghina ng loob."
(We couldn't blame our nurses because they are demoralized. They are so tired. If you compare what they get from the work and sacrifices they are doing, it's discouraging.)