DOH to protesting health workers: Priority, extra benefits given to most at risk

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2020 06:00 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday explained that while it tries its best to support the country's health workers, those directly caring for COVID-19 patients had to be prioritized in terms of benefits because of limited resources.

This after health care workers complained about the Bayanihan Two or Republic Act no. 11494’s provision giving a special risk allowance to both public and private health workers “directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients for every month that they are serving during the state of national emergency.”

Health workers groups previously pointed out that even non-health worker employees of hospitals are at risk for contracting the virus because of the nature of their work.

“Unang-una lagi sa listahan namin ang health care workers natin,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

“Tinitignan din natin ang resources na meron tayo,” she added.

(Health workers are always on the top of our list… We are also looking at the resources that we have.)

Vergeire said they chose to give the additional ebenfit to those directly caring for COVID-19 patients because they are most at risk.

“Hindi po natin naisama yung iba nating health care workers sa ospital, pero kailangan n'yo pong maintindihan, meron kayong existing na hazard pay na nakukuha po ninyo, aside from other benefits that government is providing for you, health care workers,” she said.

(We were not able to include other health workers in the hospital. But you have to understand that you are receiving existing hazard pay, aside from other benefits that the government is providing for you, health care workers.)

The health official said the hazard pay that all public health workers regularly receive is for the risk they take from working in the hospital.

As of December 5, the number of COVID-19 cases involving health workers in the country has climbed to 12,721, of which, 228 are active and 76 are deaths.

Nurses top the list of the infected health workers, with 4,506, followed by physicians, with 2,141.

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