Palace to DOH officials: Hasten hazard pay for health workers or risk suspension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 24 2020 12:09 PM

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Malacañang on Tuesday urged the health department to fast-track the release of the hazard pay for medical workers on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, warning that health officials risk suspension if they fail to do so. 

Nearly 30,000 health care workers have yet to receive several months of salary, hazard pay and special risk allowance, Maristela Abenojar, national president of Filipino Nurses United, said this week.

The Office of the Ombudsman recently suspended several officials over the late release of benefits for health workers, as provided under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

"Papaalalahanan po natin ngayon ang DOH muli na marami na naman tayong natatanggap na mga balita na nadi-delay ang pag-release ng hazard pay, at baka mayroon na naman kasing ma-suspend ang Ombudsman," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

(We will remind the DOH that we are receiving news of delayed hazard pay. The Ombudsman might suspend officials again.)

Roque's statement came days after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted a ban on the deployment of health workers hoping to land better-paying jobs abroad. 

Duterte put the deployment cap at 5,000 health care workers per year to ensure that the Philippines would have enough medical professionals to continue to fight the pandemic at home. 

Watch part of Roque's interview here.