Frontliners in some gov’t hospitals finally get COVID incentive

Frontliners in some gov’t hospitals finally get COVID-19 incentive

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:45 AM March 19, 2024

PHOTO: A COVID-19 frontliner in personal protective attire STORY: Frontliners in some gov’t hospitals finally get COVID-19 incentive

WHEN’S THEIR TURN? | Two years later, some health personnel have yet to get their due (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — After two years, healthcare workers in some public hospitals finally received their long overdue health emergency allowance (HEA) for serving at the front lines at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, those in private and local government hospitals are still waiting for their turn.


According to the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), health personnel in government-owned and — controlled corporations’ specialty hospitals — specifically the Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center—received their HEA payments covering the period of January to September 2023 on March 13.


Those at the Philippine General Hospital got the incentive earlier on Feb. 22, while health workers in hospitals retained by the Department of Health (DOH) received their allowances in the second week of February.

Long way to go for frontliners

The AHW attributed the positive development to the health workers’ “strong unity, collective action and continuous and tireless insistence,” which pushed the DOH and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release their “much-deserved” incentive.

“The release of the HEA is a significant victory for our health workers who have been at the forefront of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. These dedicated individuals have worked selflessly to provide care and support to patients, often putting their own health and their family’s safety at risk,” the group said in a statement.

“However, health workers still have a long way to go in our fight for these benefits because the HEA of our fellow health workers in private and local government hospitals is not yet released,” it added.

The payment of the allowance is provided for under Republic Act No. 11712, or the Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers Act, which was enacted on April 27, 2022.

Under the law, healthcare workers are entitled to the health emergency allowance for every month of service while the country is under a state of public health emergency. The allowance is P3,000 for those deployed to low-risk areas, P6,000 for those in medium-risk areas, and P9,000 for those in high-risk areas.


READ: COVID-19 frontliners in Cebu City gov’t hospitals to receive financial incentives

Under the 2024 national budget, P19.96 billion has been allocated to cover the backlog of payments for HEA claims submitted by workers in both public and private hospitals.

Since 2020, the DBM said it has already released P90 billion to the DOH for HEA claims.

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In December last year, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa projected that it would take until 2026 for the government to pay in full its past-due obligations amounting to P62.9 billion to all eligible workers who served during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.

TAGS: COVID-19, health workers’ allowances

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