Lawmakers are “willing” to allot a budget for volunteer health workers equivalent to the regular salary of full-time counterparts hired by the government, a congressman said on Sunday.
Rep. Eric Go Yap, of the ACT-CIS party list who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations, said it was possible to fund the volunteer health workers’ recommended salary as government estimates more than P40 million should be earmarked for them.
“Kami po, willing po kami ibigay yun dahil sa totoo lang ngayon, parang giyera to eh. Pagka naging volunteer ka, hindi pwedeng sabihin na volunteer ka lang, extra lang yung trabaho mo,” he said.
Yap said Congress can suggest to the executive branch to source from the P275 billion fund earmarked for the crisis, any needs for the country’s frontliners.
A proposed P1.6 billion supplemental budget may also be pushed, he said.
“Yung buhay po nila, tinataya nila para sa atin. So, nararapat lang po na bigyan sila ng bayad para sa mga doctors and nurses talaga,” Yap said.
According to Dr. Geneve Reyes, secretary-general of Health Action for Human Rights, volunteer doctors should be hired and paid at least P50,000 a month, the entry-level salary grade for government-hired physicians, and nurses should at least P22,000.
“At dapat po, yung quarantine of 14 days after tour of duty, dapat sagutin nila yun,” Reyes said.
The Department of Health (DOH) has apologized for offering P500 daily pay to volunteer doctors and nurses during their “month-long contribution,” an offer criticized by some sectors.
As of Saturday, 593 “health warriors” have signed up to be assigned in three government hospitals designated for COVID-19 patients, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said./Stacy Ang