DBM says to green light release of P311-million benefits to health workers
The Department of Budget and Management has said it was targeting to release on Wednesday the documents that would give way to the release of the P311-million special risk allowance for around 20,000 health workers.
"Iyong paglabas ng pondo, ini-expect namin na ngayon, puwede na naming matapos ‘yong final release documents at matatanggap na ng DOH sa araw na ‘to," said DBM officer-in-charge Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie Canda.
(The release of the funds, we expect that we can finish the final release documents which the DOH will receive today.)
"It will give them time to distribute the amount to the health care workers," she said in a televised public briefing.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday gave the health and budget departments 10 days to settle benefits of health workers, as some considered mass resignation over the delayed release of their additional pay more than a year into the COVID-19 crisis.
Thousands of medical workers have already reportedly resigned during the pandemic, complaining of low pay and poor working conditions. Some have sought better jobs abroad.
The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPi) estimated that 40 percent of private hospital nurses resigned last year, but more followed amid new waves of infections this year. Public hospitals are facing similar challenges.
Canda noted the health department is in charge of downloading the funds for health workers' benefits.
"Iyong pagbigay ng mga benepisyo na ‘yan, hindi po ‘yan sa amin. Nililinaw ko lang na hindi DBM ang magda-download n’yan para sa mga health care workers," she said.
(The distribution of those benefits, that's not ours. I am just clarifying that DBM will not be the one to download that for health care workers.)
The Department of Health said last week it has released P10.85 billion for the special risk allowance of 740,958 health workers, and another P4.24 billion for the hazard pay of 864,843 frontliners.
The DOH is also facing questions on its management of COVID-19 funds. State auditors said "deficiencies" of around P67 billion led to "missed opportunities" in containing the coronavirus pandemic. The health department said the funds were accounted for.
— With reports from Reuters