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House panel OKs bill granting health workers’ benefits during public emergencies

/ 01:04 PM November 09, 2021
The House committee on health approved Tuesday the bill seeking to grant allowances and benefits to all health workers during a state of public health emergency.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate during the weekly press briefing at the House of Representatives on Thursday, Nov 21, 2019. INQUIRER.net file photo / Noy Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on health approved Tuesday the bill seeking to grant allowances and benefits to all health workers during a state of public health emergency.

During its online meeting, the committee approved in principle—subject to amendments and style—House Bill Nos. 9640, 10198, 10285, and 10365 covering health workers in the public and private sector, which may include barangay health workers.

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Under the measures, among the benefits to be given are special risk allowance and hazard pay.

House Bill No. 9640 proposes that the national government provide P15,000 special risk allowance and P5,000 active hazard duty pay for all health workers to be given for every month that they are serving during the state of public health emergencies.

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This amount, however, is not yet final as it will still be consolidated with the other bills approved.

In his sponsorship speech, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said that the current special risk allowance and active hazard duty pay received by the health workers are “insufficient and limited.”

“Pursuant to Administrative Order Nos. 35 and 36 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, public and private health workers are only entitled to special risk allowance not exceeding P5,000 while the frontline human resources for health are entitled to active hazard duty pay not exceeding P3,000,” Zarate said.

“These amounts are far cry from the health worker’s demand: P15,000 special risk allowance and P5,000 active hazard duty pay for all health workers,” he added.

Zarate likewise pointed out that under Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2021-0221, only public health workers catering to COVID-19 patients or providing COVID-19 healthcare response during the state of national emergency, medical and allied professionals, and administrative and support personnel are entitled to hazard pay, subsistence and laundry allowance.

The four bills will be consolidated and finalized. If the bill is signed into law, provision of special allowances and benefits will be mandated whenever a state of public emergency is declared.

RELATED STORY:

Health care workers’ benefits: ‘Singular’ plan brings multiple issues

JPV

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