Hospitals not to blame for slow release of risk allowance for health workers, says group
MANILA – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III must have been misinformed when he blamed private hospitals for the delay in the release of some benefits for health care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What he said that the fund is already in the hospitals, and it is the hospital that is keeping the SRA (special risk allowance) from the health care workers is not true,” Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP) head Dr. Jose Rene de Grano said Friday.
De Grano said they met their members after Duque’s statement on Wednesday, and most of the member-hospitals said they still have yet to receive the funds for the special risk allowance (SRA) of their employees.
“Some in the north were able to get already, the second tranche. But the rest of the country, especially Region 3, Region 4, even Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon, we asked all the hospitals there and they have not received their SRA. Even Samar, some areas in the Visayas and some areas in Mindanao, especially Region 12, they have not received the SRA,” he explained.
De Grano said some of the funds may still be with the local government units (LGUs).
The doctor explained that after the national government releases the funds, these go to the regions, and then from there, to the provincial health offices.
“And then the provincial offices will disburse this supposedly directly to the hospitals. The problem now in our region is they pass through the local government units. And you know, when local government units receive money from the national government they have to undergo some kind of board resolution, hearings before they can disburse the payment,” he explained.
“So the fund probably was lumped with the other government facilities, that’s why everything has to pass through the LGUs. When in fact the LGUs have nothing to do with that.”
De Grano lamented that some LGUs do not know the real guidelines on how to disburse the SRA funds.
“It’s even in the administrative order and the joint circular that the LGUs have nothing to do with the disbursement of these SRA,” he added.
He said the SRA must be expanded to cover other health workers, and not just those in direct contact with COVID-19 patients.
“Lahat naman 'yung hangin na sinisinghot nila diyan is the same. If you’re inside the same hospital, you breathe the same air. You’re exposed to the same virus,” he stressed.