MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has reiterated its mission to lead the country in creating a productive, resilient, equitable, and people-centered healthcare system, amid the issue of delayed benefits of healthcare workers.
In its press release dated November 28, the DOH said that it cannot take the welfare of the healthcare workers out of the equation in realizing the goals of a Universal Health Care system, especially in the midst of a national state of public health emergency where they are most needed.
“We are taking the issue of delayed benefits very seriously. When matters like this come to our attention, we conduct thorough investigations and concerned offices are made to answer to the Secretary and develop solutions to improve the delivery of services and expedite processes,” the DOH said.
“As health workers, many of us in the DOH—including members of our Executive Committee—have experienced working on the ground, in our health facilities, which is why we understand the challenges in the frontlines—being overworked, underpaid, demoralized, and in this pandemic, even more vulnerable,” it added.
The health department explained that the Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) and Special Risk Allowances (SRA) under Bayanihan 1 are based on the savings of hospitals and only covered frontliners who reported for duty during the Enhanced Community Quarantine from March 15 to May 16.
“Considering that other hospitals do not have savings, DOH sub-alloted P51.9 million which has been released to 17 DOH-retained hospitals who requested for additional funding,” the DOH added.
The department further said that the AHDP and SRA for Bayanihan 2 were alloted through the Administrative Orders 35 and 36 issued by the Office of the President last November 16.
For this, the DOH and the DBM issued Joint Circulars 1 and 2 on November 25 which provided for the P9.2 billion sub-allotment to DOH-retained hospitals, Centers for Health Development (CHDs), and the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the period of September to December. This, the DOH said, has already been released this week.
The department appealed to the healthcare workers to inform them of health facilities that have not yet released their benefits and to file a written complaint to the DOH – Complaints Handling Unit at email@example.com.
The DOH assured that it is taking the matter very seriously and that it does not only respond to the health welfare of the general public but also to the health workers who are with them in attaining this vision and battling this pandemic. — /mbmf