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DOH wants ‘singular allowance’ for health workers

/ 12:44 PM September 24, 2021
DOH wants "singular allowance" for health workers

Nurses from the Bureau of Fire Protection in Olongapo City assist other healthcare workers during a mass vaccination at the Rizal Triangle Covered Court. (Photo courtesy of Olongapo City Information Center)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is proposing a “singular allowance” for health workers that would range from P3,000 to P9,000.

Speaking before the Senate Committee on Health and Demography hearing on Friday, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said their proposal would simplify the provisions under Senate Bill 2371 or the COVID-19 Benefits for Health Workers Act.

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The bill, authored by Senator Richard Gordon and Sonny Angara, mandates that public and private health workers directly in contact with COVID-19 patients should receive monthly risk allowances; actual hazard duty pay for all health workers serving in the front line; and life insurances, accommodations, transportation and meals to all public and private health workers.

“While the DOH supports the bills, it however proposes that a singular allowance will be offered which will cover and substitute all the benefits enumerated in the bills,” Duque said during the hearing.

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“In addition, the rate of the allowance will vary according to the risk of exposure of health workers in particular work settings,” Duque added.

Under the DOH’s proposal, Duque said the benefits of health care workers should be based on three risk categories of COVID-19 exposure: low risk, medium risk, and high risk.

Healthcare workers who are classified as having a low risk for COVID-19 exposure will receive P3,000; medium risk P6,000; and P9,000 for those who are high risk, according to Duque.

Healthcare workers who are performing administrative duties in non-public areas of health care facilities and away from other staff members and patients are classified as having a “low risk” for exposure to COVID-19.

Those who are in contact with the general public who are now known or suspected to have contracted the virus that causes COVID-19 are under the “medium” risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, healthcare workers are considered as having a “high” risk of getting exposure are those who enter a COVID-19 patient’s room, providing care for COVID-19 patients, and those who collect and handle specimens from COVID-19 positive or suspected patients.

DOH Assistant Secretary Maylene Beltran said that of the 567,727 health workers in the country, about 6 percent accounts for health workers who are under the “low risk” category; 7 percent under the “medium risk” category, and 87 percent under the “high risk” category.

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Beltran added that P51 billion is needed to fund the proposal.

Of the amount, P49.4 billion will be for the COVID-19 allowance, P1 billion for contingency in case of a surge, while P831 million will be for the sickness and death compensation of a COVID-19 patient, according to Beltran.

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TAGS: Department of Health, Francisco Duque III, Maylene Beltran, risk allowance
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