RITM health workers dispute Duque: Where's the rest of our COVID benefits? | Inquirer News

RITM health workers dispute Duque: Where’s the rest of our COVID benefits?

/ 03:41 AM November 27, 2021
RITMEA-AHW members stage protest

FILE Members of the RITM Employees Association – Alliance of Health Workers staged a protest in front of the RITM on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Photo from RITMEA-AHW)

MANILA, Philippines — Health workers from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) disputed the claims of Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque and RITM Director Celia Carlos that benefits have already been released, as some payments for COVID-19 duty have remained unpaid.

According to the RITM Employees Association (RITMEA) — a chapter of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) at the said institute — not all COVID-19 duty-related benefits mandated under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 have been given, like meal, accommodation, and transportation allowances.


“[RITMEA-AHW] debunk what DOH Secretary Duque and RITM Director Celia Carlos claim that they already received ALL the COVID-19 benefits stated in Bayanihan Law 2,” AHW said in a statement.

“On a previous statement released by AHW, they cited that many DOH-retained hospitals only got 30% of the funds from the DOH for their meal, accommodation and transportation benefit for the period of September to December 2020,” it added.


Aside from that, the healthcare workers’ union stressed that RITM of all DOH-retained hospitals did not receive their meal, accommodation, and transportation (MAT) allowances from September 15 to December 19, 2020

“Like the other DOH hospital managements, RITM allotment for MAT benefit amounting to P57M, was returned to DOH because of the short period of time for utilization. Even though, health workers did not receive yet the benefits,” AHW noted.

“While the other health workers from DOH hospitals received their 30% MAT benefits, it was only on July 12, 2021 that the RITM management wrote the DOH through Usec Leopoldo Vega inquiring if the institute will be provided funds by the DOH Central Office for the grant of cash equivalent for the [MAT] benefits to Public Health Workers for the period of September 15, 2020 to December 19, 2020 as represented by the [RITMEA],” they added.

RITMEA and AHW were referring to Duque and Carlos’ statements released in an INQUIRER.net report on Thursday, which showed that over P200 million worth of COVID-19 allowances have been released since 2020.

The report given by Carlos indicated that RITM gave out P65.9 million for special risk allowance, P23 million for active hazard duty pay, and P120 million for the MAT allowances allowance as of November 5, 2021.  Beneficiaries included permanent and contract of service workers.

Carlos also noted that the RITM spent a total of P48,176,316 to provide daily meals to all employees, contract of service workers, and outsourced staffers.  Another P54,070,903 was used for accommodations in various hotels, and P17,997,356 for transportation shuttle services.

Duque and Carlos released the RITM report in response to the statement of Cristy Donguines, president of AHW’s chapter in the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, who said that many workers in RITM did not receive their COVID-19 benefits.


But RITMEA maintained that some benefits were not given by the institution.

“RITMEA-AHW also demand the immediate release of their meal, accommodation and transportation benefit covering the period of January to June 2021.  RITMEA-AHW strongly demand for the immediate release of their COVID-19 benefits,” AHW said.

“(DOH must) release the 100% budget covering the period of September-December 2020 intended for [MAT] Benefit under Bayanihan Law 2 that were withheld by the DOH, (and also) release January-June 2021 under Bayanihan 2 MAT benefit to all health workers of RITM,” it added.


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TAGS: Bayanihan 2, COVID-19 duty benefits, Department of Health, Director Celia Carlos RITM Employees Association, health workers, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, RITMEA, Secretary Francisco Duque
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