Workers to DOH: Where are the promised benefits? | Inquirer News
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Workers to DOH: Where are the promised benefits?

/ 05:36 AM October 24, 2021

HEALTH WORKERS’ WOES Health workers from the Lung Center of the Philippines, the Philippine Heart Center and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City on Monday hold a picket during their lunch break to seek more funds for hospitals and medical front-liners. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — A group of private healthcare workers denounced on Saturday the continued delay in the release of benefits promised by the government, but the Department of Health (DOH) blamed hospitals for not complying with requirements.

In a press conference, the Private Hospital Workers Alliance of the Philippines (PHWAP) demanded the distribution of allowances that President Duterte had already ordered to be released since August.

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The PHWAP represents 63,772 health workers in 12 private hospitals in Metro Manila and Laguna.

The hospitals are Chinese General Hospital, University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital (Quezon City and Bonifacio Global City), Metropolitan Medical Center, De Los Santos Hospital, The Medical City, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Cardinal Santos Hospital, Calamba Medical Center, Hospital of Infant Jesus and Manila Doctor’s Hospital.

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Special risk allowances

Donell Siazon, union president of UST Hospital and convener of PHWAP, said each healthcare worker was supposed to receive about P38,000 covering six months of rendered work.

The amount excludes special risk allowances (SRA) other benefits, such as life insurance for those who contracted COVID-19 while on duty.

Siazon said that many workers had already received their SRAs, whether partially or in full, but most had not received the allowances provided under the Bayanihan 2 law, which already lapsed on June 30.

‘Lapses in claims’

SRAs are estimated to be around P30,000 for a six-month period, provided the healthcare worker had complete work attendance, he said.

PHWAP also slammed claims by the DOH that there are lapses in their applications for benefits as their members have already complied with the requirements.

“[Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario] Vergeire said that the funds for meal, transportation, and accommodation are already downloaded by the DBM (Department of Budget and Management). It is already available. But it’s just that there are lapses in our claims,” Siazon told the Inquirer.

But he said their hospitals had not informed them of any concerns about their accomplished applications.

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“Based on recent reports, we saw that many health facilities have incomplete documents. Number two, we are highly reliant on their submission of documents and list of names of facilities,” Vergeire said at a Laging Handa briefing.

The health official also noted the release of P6 billion for active hazard duty pay and SRA for more than 700,000 healthcare workers. Life insurance benefits, meanwhile, were released to 32 individuals.

In June, Mr. Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 42 which grants SRAs of up to P5,000 per month to private and public healthcare workers who were infected with COVID-19.

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TAGS: DoH, healthcare workers' benefits, medical frontliners
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