MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) said Monday it continues to await funds from the budget department for the benefits of health workers, some of which were due from as way back as July last year.
"We have arrears to our healthcare workers which stands from July 2021. Until this time, meron po kaming utang na P64 billion sa kanila, dahil may retroactive provisions po yung ating RA (Republic Act) for health emergency allowance," DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said during the Senate finance panel's deliberation on her agency's proposed 2023 budget.
The health chief said they continue to coordinate with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the release of the funds.
She said that they wrote to DBM last Sept. 6 and 9 for the disbursement of P12 billion for the health workers' allowance.
"We had been communicating to the DBM for the release of additional funds for our healthcare workers... Hopefully, the DBM, as mentioned to us, they might release funds today so we might be able [to pay] yung healthcare workers, yung kanilang allowance," Vergeire told the senators.
Sen. Raffy Tulfo asked Vergeire if the health workers would already be able to receive their hazard pay before Christmas.
She only replied, "hopefully."
"We are doing everything we can so that the budget can be provided to DOH... Kami po sa DOH would really want to provide all the benefits due to our healthcare workers. Unfortunately, we need additional funds," she said.
Vergeire pleaded senators to allot more funds to their agency for the benefit of healthcare workers.
Under the proposed 2023 budget, the DOH and its attached agencies were alloted P301 billion.
Last month, the Alliance of Health Workers disclosed that almost 60 percent of medical workers have yet to receive their One COVID-19 Allowance and other benefits.
— Report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News