Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reiterated his call for the provision of special risk allowance for public health workers (PHWs) as they continue to work in hospitals and other health facilities despite the growing threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a statement, Go said that the government must protect the welfare of PHWs who provide critical and urgent services to respond to the public health emergency, placing their lives at risk.
“Sa kabila ng enhanced community quarantine, patuloy pong nagseserbisyo sa bayan ang ating frontliners na mga public health workers upang masiguro ang ating kalusugan at kaligtasan,” he said.
He added that the frontliners deserve to receive a risk allowance on top of hazard pay for their sacrifices, saying, “Nararapat lamang na mabigyan sila ng special risk allowance. Kailanman ay hindi sila pababayaan ng gobyerno.”
Under Section 4 of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, President Rodrigo Duterte is given the temporary authority to provide SRA to PHWs.
PHWs may refer to medical, allied medical and other necessary personnel assigned to hospitals and healthcare facilities and who are directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients, Persons Under Investigation (PUIs), or Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs).
If approved, Go proposed that national government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and local government units will be authorized to grant their respective PHWs a one-time COVID-19 SRA equivalent to a percentage of their basic monthly salary.
This means that PHWs may be granted SRA on top of the existing hazard pay they are receiving under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers or the COVID-19 hazard pay under Administrative Order No. 26 (s. 2020), whichever is higher.
Noting their important role in the fight against the virus, Go, who also sits as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and member of the Joint Oversight Committee for the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, said that more government funds should be utilized for increased protection of the frontliners, particularly nurses, doctors, and other public health workers.
“Bigyan natin ng pansin ang mga karapatan ng ating frontliners – mga health workers, doctors at nurses. Pakinggan at tulungan natin sila dahil sila ang mga sundalong araw-araw na humaharap at nakikibaka upang magtagumpay ang ating bansa sa hamon na dala ng COVID-19,” Go said.
“Gamitin po natin ang pondong meron tayo para mabigyan ng proteksyon at alaga ang ating mga health workers, doctors, nurses at iba pang frontliners, tulad ng pulis at military,” he added.
Earlier, Go also urged the government to provide hazard pay even to job order and contract of service workers employed by the national government as long as they are required to report to work amid the enhanced community quarantine.
On March 23, Duterte issued Administrative Order No. 26 (s. 2020) granting hazard pay to government personnel, including job order and contract of service workers, who render work during the quarantine period./Stacy Ang