DOH eyes P17-billion budget for COVID allowances
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) will set aside P17 billion from its proposed budget next year for the disbursement of mandated health emergency allowances (HEA) for healthcare workers who rendered services for COVID-19 patients.
Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said another P15.2 billion was allotted under the 2023 General Appropriations Act which is pending release this year.
With a total of P30 billion disbursed for the COVID-19 benefits of healthcare workers so far, Herbosa pointed out that “it is not enough, that’s why some healthcare workers still haven’t received [the benefits].”
He said the government was “trying to pay off [the benefits], but of course, it takes some process and time.”
On Friday, healthcare workers voiced their frustrations over the slow release of COVID-19 benefits in the last three years.
Members of the United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (UPHUP) held a noise barrage to demand the immediate disbursement of their mandated benefits.
“You (Herbosa) are supposed to look into the veracity of undistributed funds for the HEA among private hospital workers,” Ronald Ignacio, spokesperson of UPHUP, said in a statement, refuting the earlier claim of the health chief that 90 percent of benefits had already been disbursed.
Medical staff from the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, and National Kidney and Transplant Institute also staged a lunchtime picket to demand a raise in the entry-level pay of all healthcare workers in both private and public health facilities to P33,000 per month.