Cayetanos, allies file bill seeking to raise pay of barangay health workers
MANILA, Philippines — Taguig-Pateros 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano led a group of lawmakers on Tuesday in filing a bill seeking to upgrade the status of barangay health workers from volunteers with mere allowances to government workers with more financial benefits.
To achieve that, the bill would require local governments to hire and pay barangay health workers under various categories — job order, casual, contractual, or regular employees.
The other authors of the bill are Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr., Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo Abu, Laguna 1st District Rep. Dan Fernandez, Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, and Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Michael Defensor.
“As frontliners of our Primary Healthcare System, our Barangay Health Workers must be given sufficient incentives, benefits, and most of all, just compensation for all the hard work they have done for us,” reads the bill’s explanatory note.
“The goal of improving the Primary Healthcare System necessarily carries with it the responsibility of taking care and supporting those in charge of implementing the same,” it adds.
The bill also seeks to establish a Special Barangay Health Workers Assistance Program under the Department of Health. The program will provide additional financial and technical assistance, training, and other forms of support to barangay health workers in selected local government units.
Currently, barangay health workers receive allowances for their work as volunteers. The bill seeks to increase their compensation by allowing local governments to get more funds from other sources on the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia ruling.
The ruling has clarified that custom duties and several other taxes should be included in the just share of local government units in the collection of national taxes. It is expected to increase the internal revenue allotment of local government units next year.
“Therefore, there’s an additional source of funds for the salaries and benefits of Barangay Health Workers who tirelessly sacrificed for their community, especially during this pandemic,” says the bill’s explanatory note.
The Cayetanos have been advocating for additional incentives for barangay health workers in recent years.
In their districts in Taguig, all 819 of the barangay health workers have been hired by the city government as either job order or casual employees — getting a monthly salary ranging from P7,900 to P11,000, as well as performance incentive bonuses, overtime pay, and hazard pay.
Barangay frontliners are also included in the list of priority beneficiaries in House Bill No. 8597 — or the 10K Ayuda Bill — that Cayetano and his group filed last Feb. 1.
The bill aims to provide a cash aid of P10,000 to every Filipino family, especially the poorest of the poor, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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