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Health workers want higher health budget for 2022, release of COVID-19 benefits

/ 09:08 PM October 20, 2021
Health workers want higher health budget for 2022, release of COVID-19 benefits

Members of the Alliance of Health Workers sound a cry for a higher health budget.

MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) staged a protest on Wednesday to press senators to increase the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed budget for 2022 as well as the immediate release of COVID-19 benefits.

“We urge the honorable senators to scrutinize the DOH budget and prioritize the health and safety of health workers and the people,” said Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center Employees Union-Alliance of Health Workers president Cristy Donguines.

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“We hope that the senators will listen to the plight of the health workers and the people whose livelihoods have been ruined and their health and safety at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.

Moreover, the frontliners also questioned why the DOH has not yet released 70 percent of their allowance.

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“DOH kept on saying that they have already released these benefits, but where is it now? We call on Secretary Duque and the rest of the DOH officials to stop deceiving the health workers and the public. Enough of your lies and incompetence,” Donguines stated.

They also expressed their anger at the lack of funding for their COVID-19 benefits in the proposed health budget for 2022.

“We are outraged because when it comes to health, protection, safety and welfare of health workers and the people, the allocated budget is very inadequate,” the group said.

“And yet, we found out that a huge amount worth P42.7B was discovered in the DOH-PS DBM-Pharmally as COVID-19 anomaly,” it added.

Health workers also questioned why only P16.45 billion has been allocated for COVID-19 response for 2022.

“The budget allotted by the Duterte administration for COVID-19 response for the year 2022 is only P16.45B. This means that all COVID medical supplies like personal protective gear and medicines will be charged to the patient,” the group said.

“This government doesn’t seem to care that as of October 12, 2021, the Philippines ranks seventh in the global COVID-19 cases,” it added.

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Meanwhile, private hospitals have expressed concern about the increasing number of doctors who leave for overseas opportunities.

READ: Exodus of nurses alarms private hospitals

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines estimated that about 5 to 10 percent of nurses have resigned in recent weeks to leave for other countries.

Photo from AHW’s official Facebook, caption: The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) staged a protest in front of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila to press senators to increase the DOH’s 2022 budget and the immediate release of their COVID-19 benefits.

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TAGS: benefits, Department of Health, DOH budget, health workers, National Budget 2022
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