LOOK: Health workers hold noise barrage over unpaid COVID-19 benefits | Inquirer News

LOOK: Health workers hold noise barrage over unpaid COVID-19 benefits

By: - Reporter / @JMangaluzINQ
/ 04:19 PM September 28, 2022
AHW members hold a noise barrage at the Philippine Orthopedic Center to register their protest against the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits.

Members of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) hold signs as they conduct a noise barrage to protest the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits at the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Alliance of Health Workers-AHW National’s Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) staged a noise barrage at the Philippine Orthopedic Center on Wednesday to register their protest against the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits.

On its Facebook page, the AHW said that the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) promised to release the 2021 -2022 Health Emergency Allowance and the 2020-2021 Performance-Based Bonus but the healthcare workers have yet to receive them.

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“It’s been two weeks since the DOH and DBM promised to release their COVID-19 benefits but until now these benefits were not provided,” it said.

READ: Health workers’ benefits still unpaid

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The AHW also decried how the COVID-19 benefits were placed under “unprogrammed funds” in the proposed 2023 national budget.

AHW members hold a noise barrage at the Philippine Orthopedic Center to register their protest against the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits.

Members of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) hold signs as they conduct a noise barrage to protest the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits at the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Alliance of Health Workers-AHW National’s Facebook page

AHW members hold a noise barrage at the Philippine Orthopedic Center to register their protest against the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits.

Members of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) hold signs as they conduct a noise barrage to protest the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits at the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Alliance of Health Workers-AHW National’s Facebook page

“It is even more disgusting that appropriation for the health workers’ COVID-19 benefits for 2023 was placed under the unprogrammed funds. Unprogrammed funds mean there is no actual fund allocation for the health workers’ benefits thus appropriation could only be generated from the DOH savings,” the group explained.

The AHW claimed that many healthcare workers have filed for resignation and early retirement while others have opted to go abroad.

“Ang pagbibigay namin ng serbisyo ay hindi nade-delay pero ang benepisyo namin ay sobrang delayed. Kung magpapatuloy ang ganitong kalagayan at hindi mabigyan ng tamang solusyon ng gobyerno, ay talagang mauubos ang mga manggagawang pangkalusugan at lalala ang sistemang pangkalusugan ng ating bansa,” asserted Ricky Antonio, president of the National Orthopedic Hospital Workers Union, an affiliate of the AHW.

(Our service is never delayed but our benefits are very delayed. If this situation continues and is not given a solution from the government, then we will no longer have health workers and the country’s healthcare system will worsen).

READ: Nurses’ exodus: Choice obvious between better future abroad, shabby treatment at home

AHW members hold a noise barrage at the Philippine Orthopedic Center to register their protest against the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits.

Members of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) hold signs as they conduct a noise barrage to protest the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits at the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Alliance of Health Workers-AHW National’s Facebook page

AHW members hold a noise barrage at the Philippine Orthopedic Center to register their protest against the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits.

Members of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) hold signs as they conduct a noise barrage to protest the non-payment of their COVID-19 benefits at the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Alliance of Health Workers-AHW National’s Facebook page

In addition to unpaid benefits, the AHW members also protested the lack of capital outlay funding for the Philippine Orthopedic Center. The group said the capital outlay funding would have been a dedicated budget to maintain and upgrade hospital facilities.

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While the DOH has the centralized P23 billion for the Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP), the AHW said the money should have been directly appropriated to public hospitals like the Philippine Orthopedic Center.

“Centralizing the HFEP funds to DOH will cause more delays in the delivery of direct health services to the people and likewise the fund is subject to anomalies and problems of bureaucracy.” AHW national officer Remedios Ysmael said.

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