Nurses lambast DOH over reduced benefits
MANILA, Philippines — The nurses’ Filipino Nurses United (FNU) criticized the Department of Health’s (DOH) One COVID-19 Allowance (OCA) program due to the scheme’s categorization that classifies health workers under high, moderate and low risk.
“For us, all health workers, as soon as they go to their workplace—whether they are in the hospital or their respective communities—are at high risk,” Jocelyn Adamo, secretary general of FNU, told the Inquirer on Sunday.
“If the government really wants to recognize [what they call] heroism, we hope they would show their gratitude to nurses and health workers through benefits without the need for qualifiers,” she said.
The DOH announced on Jan. 20 that it would discontinue the special risk allowance (SRA) and active hazard duty pay and “replaced by a more inclusive and responsive OCA.”
“A risk exposure classification of [health workers] recognizes the occupational hazards faced by all [health workers] in the context of COVID-19 response in various settings, while also giving an incentive for those who work in close or direct contact with COVID-19 cases,” the DOH said.
Under the implementing guidelines of Administrative Order No. 2022-0001, the determination of a health worker’s risk level would depend on the type of facility where they are assigned, work setting and the nature of work that they do.
Those under the high-risk level will be given P9,000 a month; moderate, P6,000; and low risk, P3,000.
Adamo said FNU already opposed since September 2021 the DOH’s proposal of a singular allowance, calling it “ill-conceived” and “heartless” because it would reduce the monetary benefits of all health workers.
“We view the DOH-proposed singular allowance as a divisive and unjust cost-cutting measure that reflects the government’s [low] regard for the selfless work and sacrifice exerted by health workers in this time of pandemic,” the group said in a statement. INQ
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