Duterte OKs additional pay for health frontliners braving pandemic

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2020 05:20 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte convenes members of his Cabinet at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse on Nov. 2, 2020. Alberto Alcain, Presidential Photo

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved additional pay for health workers at the helm of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to documents released Monday.

Duterte, in administrative order 35, authorized up to P3,000 per month in tax-free "active hazard duty pay" to health workers "whose services are essential to our COVID-19 fight, and who physically report to the frontlines… and are inevitably exposed to health risks."

This incentive will be pro-rated based on the number of days that a heath worker physically reported for work in a month, from Sept. 15 to Dec. 19.

The President has also signed administrative order 36, authorizing up to P5,000 monthly "special risk allowance" for private and public health workers, who "directly cater to or are in contact with COVID-19 patients," which shall also be exempt from income tax.

Administrative order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Official Gazette

Administrative order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Official Gazette

Administrative order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Official Gazette

Administrative order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Official Gazette

"There is a need to recognize the heroic and invaluable contributions of our public health workers throughout the country, who bravely and unselfishly risk their lives and health by being at the forefront of the national effort to address the public health emergency," read Duterte's order.

Both incentives will be sourced from the P13.5 billion appropriated under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act for health-related initiatives against the pandemic.

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The Philippines on Monday recorded 1,738 new coronavirus infections and 7 additional deaths, the lowest daily increase in casualties in nearly 3 months.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases increased to 409,574, while deaths already reached 7,839.

Despite a downward trend in the number of cases in more recent weeks, this was not the time to be complacent, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a regular news conference on Monday.
 
- With a report from Reuters

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