MANILA - Senators have directed the Department of Health (DOH) to immediately release special allowances for health workers battling COVID-19, noting that it has been 6 months since the incentive was promised to medical frontliners.
A report sent to the Senate confirmed that the DOH has recently submitted to the Department of Budget and Management the cost estimates for the the Special Risk Allowance, a benefit promised to medical frontliners in April, according to a Senate document.
"What is the cause of this delay?" senators said in its comments on the executive branch's first report on the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
"The problem with the distribution of the Special Risk Allowance for health workers has been a persistent issue and a recurring complaint of health care professionals," according to the Senate document sent to the Office of the Executive Secretary on October 21.
The chamber - which has oversight authority over the implementation of Bayanihan 2 - has also directed the DOH to submit a "list of healthcare workers who received such benefits as well as healthcare workers who have yet to receive the benefit."
"To ensure the same issue in the delay of receipt of benefits will not be repeated, the Senate would like to secure a report on the implementation" of the Special Risk Allowance for medical workers manning the frontlines against COVID-19, it said.
In April, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an administrative order to give COVID-19 medical workers an additional allowance on top of their hazard pay.
In August, the DOH committed to include more incentives for doctors, nurses, and other medical frontliners under the Bayanihan 2.