P275.9-M ‘unauthorized grant of meal allowances’ settled —DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health clarified on Sunday that the reported P275.9-million deficiencies in the unauthorized grant of meal allowances to health workers have been settled.
“The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday clarified that the alleged ‘deficiencies’ in the management of ₱ 275.9 million in cash allowances, gift certificates, and grocery items, cited in the Commission on Audit (COA) 2020 Consolidated Annual Audit Report, have already been settled with the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum dated June 1, 2021,” the DOH said in a statement.
Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, health workers are qualified for meals, accommodation, and transportation benefits.
The DOH gave P2.4 billion to the Centers for Health Development, DOH hospitals, and specialty health facilities to grant the health workers’ benefits.
On the part of meals, some hospitals chose to provide the benefits in other ways as health workers do not have regular break schedules.
“To immediately distribute these benefits, given the challenges of providing actual meals to healthcare workers who do not follow regular break schedules, some hospitals and facilities opted to provide the benefits through cash, grocery vouchers, grocery items, and the like. However, state auditors disagreed and recommended the return of the allowances already paid,” the DOH explained.
The health agency added: “The DOH took up the cause of our healthcare workers and requested the Office of the President for presidential imprimatur to allow the provision of these benefits in cash equivalents. The Office of the President responded to the request of our healthcare workers and recognized the need to provide meal, transportation, and accommodation benefits for public and private health workers in cash equivalents like gift cheques, grocery vouchers, grocery items, and the like in its June 1, 2021, Memorandum.”
Moreover, the DOH assured that it will continue to protect medical workers’ benefits in acknowledgment of their sacrifice and service.
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