DBM approves P1.04-B additional funds for Covid-19 special risk allowance of HCWs

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MANILA – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the issuance of PHP1.04 billion in additional funds to pay the special risk allowance (SRA) for qualified public and private health workers involved in the Covid-19 healthcare response.

According to the DBM, the release of a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) to the Department of Health (DOH) was approved by DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman on Monday.

“We understand and recognize the selflessness and immense sacrifice that our health workers continue to pour out throughout these turbulent times. Isa po itong paraan sa pagkilala sa kanilang sakripisyo (This is a way of recognizing their sacrifices),” Pangandaman said.

The additional funds will be used to pay 55,211 health workers who have unpaid Covid-19 SRA claims. These workers will receive a grant of PHP 5,000 per month they work during the period of the state of national emergency.

“Rest assured that we will continue to closely coordinate with the DOH so that our health care workers get the allowances and benefits they deserve,” Pangandaman added.

Qualified health professionals are medical, allied medical, and other personnel assigned to hospitals and healthcare facilities who have direct contact with Covid-19 patients, persons under investigation, or persons under monitoring.

Allowances and benefits must be provided to all public and private health workers catering to or in contact with Covid-19 patients under Republic Act (RA) 11494, also known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

Administrative Order (AO) No. 36, which enables the issuance of Covid-19 SRA to health workers who provide direct care to or have direct contact with Covid-19 patients, was released on November 20, 2020.

Under AO 42, the grant of the SRA was further extended to June 30, 2021.

RA 11712, which provides mandatory continuing benefits and allowances to public and private health professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic and other future public health emergencies, was signed into law on April 27, 2022, for the period beginning July 1, 2021.

The SRA was effectively replaced by Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) under this law, with amounts granted based on risk levels.

Health workers deployed in “low-risk areas” will receive at least PHP3,000; those deployed in “medium-risk areas” will receive at least PHP6,000, and those deployed in “high-risk areas” will receive at least PHP9,000.

As of now, the total released allocation for SRA amounts to PHP11.857 billion.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last month stated that his administration is committed to improving the working conditions of nurses and other health workers here and abroad.

He promised to address issues such as health facilities, benefits, and job security to reduce the wage disparity between government and private hospitals, as well as the uneven distribution of nurses across the country.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.