Lawmakers take cudgels for health workers
A lawmaker is seeking a House inquiry into the reported delayed release of benefits of health workers during the pandemic.
Under House Resolution No. 1704, Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez said the compliance of public and private entities to provide health workers with all benefits, as mandated by law, must be investigated.
“The complaints from our essential workers should not fall on deaf ears, but rather, should compel us to review and reformulate the country’s COVID-19 response for the safety and welfare of our citizens and the nation as a whole,” Lopez said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Our front-liners are risking their lives every day. The least we can do is to listen to them and give what they rightfully deserve,” he added.
Lopez said the delay in the provision of benefits and allowances for health worker was “absolutely reprehensible.”
He said health workers had been demanding their long-overdue benefits and allowances, such as special risk, meals, transportation and accommodation allowances as well as performance-based bonuses.
Another lawmaker has called on the Department of Health and Department of Budget and Management to immediately procure and distribute the best protective gear for the country’s health workers.
SAGIP party list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta said the two agencies should act with dispatch in purchasing medical grade face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
“These are sorely needed by health-care workers overwhelmed by the spiraling COVID-19 cases, particularly in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas,” he said.
The lawmaker said Congress had allocated about P2 billion under Bayanihan 1 and 2 to purchase personal protective gear for health workers.
Marcoleta said health workers valiantly fighting the war against COVID-19 deserved only the best protection. With more virulent variants, he said only medical grade N95 masks, face shields and protective equipment should be given to them.
“We should never, under any circumstances, allow our health-care capacity to go down only because our front-liners lack protective gear or are ill-equipped in protecting themselves against the virus,” he said.
—Nestor Corrales INQ
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