DOH eyes release of health workers' COVID-19 allowance next week

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2022 04:17 PM

Health workers hold a protest outside the Senate in Pasay City on Oct. 3, 2022, urging the government to release their long delayed COVID-19 allowance and benefits. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Health workers hold a protest outside the Senate in Pasay City on Oct. 3, 2022, urging the government to release their long delayed COVID-19 allowance and benefits. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health is planning to distribute the COVID-19 special risk allowance of health workers next week.

According to DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, the Department of Budget and Management has released an additional P1.04 billion for the SRA of eligible public and private health workers involved in COVID-19 response.

"Itong P1.04 billion po na natanggap natin, pinoproseso na natin ngayon. We will be already downloading to our regional offices," she said in a press briefing.

"So, hopefully by next week we can already start distributing and disbursing this money to our different facilities para maibigay sa ating mga healthcare workers."

Unpaid COVID-19 SRA claims of 55,211 health workers will be covered by the P1.04 billion fund. 

The health workers are entitled to receive P5,000 for every month they are serving during the period of state of national emergency, the DBM said in a statement.

Qualified health workers refer to medical, allied medical, and other personnel assigned in hospitals and health care facilities, and who are directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients, persons under investigation or persons under monitoring.

The release of SRA is in compliance with the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. It was further extended to June 30, 2021 under Administrative Order No. 42.

To date, the total released allotment for SRA amounts to P11.857 billion, the DBM said.

P140 BILLION

Vergeire reiterated the agency will need P140 billion to cover the mandatory COVID-19 benefits and allowances of health workers since the start of pandemic.

This includes the arrears of P64 billion for the retroactive payment of Health Emergency Allowance in 2021 and 2022. Medical frontliners are entitled to HEA under Republic Act 11712.

The DOH will also need at least P76 to sustain the provision of COVID-19 benefits for the whole of 2023.

There are over 800,000 health workers in the country, Vergeire said.

Dozens of health workers staged a protest in front of DOH's main office in Manila on Tuesday against their delayed benefits.

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