The City Council of Puerto Princesa seeks the review of the Administrative Orders (AO) No. 35, 36, and 42 of the Department of Health (DOH) to include Barangay Health Workers (BHW) and other health workers in the local government units (LGUs). It passed a resolution recently addressed to the Office of the President requesting the review of the aforementioned AOs to include other frontliners in the future release of Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) and Special Risk Allowance (SRA).
This is because, under the existing law, BHWs are only qualified to avail an SRA if they can provide the necessary requirements.
Based on the law, frontline human resources for health (HRH) are medical, allied medical, and other personnel in the public sector who are involved in the national health care response to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent further loss of lives.
The SRA is for the public and private health workers who directly cater to, or are in a contact with, COVID-19 patients.
Private health workers, who are assigned in designated COVID-19 hospitals, laboratories, or medical and quarantine facilities certified by the DOH, as well follow the same conditions to qualify for an SRA.
Health workers, from both private and public sectors, qualified for the SRA must physically report for work, and “provide critical and urgent services to respond to the public health emergency during the state of national emergency.”
Eligible health workers may also receive SRA not exceeding P5,000 monthly.
Senator Risa Hontiveros is therefore right, that the policy of granting the benefits for health workers should not be “restrictive” considering the fact that all of them are exposed to the risk of contracting COVID-19. Hence, all health workers, whether they are directly treating COVID-19 patients or not, should receive an SRA since they are all exposed to the virus.
Secretary Duque’s statement that hospital chiefs should validate first if the medical frontliners set to receive the benefits directly treated COVID-19 patients is absurd considering that all health workers in a hospital treating COVID-patients are definitely exposed to the virus. The DOH should also be considerate to other employees who are also in the same hospital thus all of them have already been exposed to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the DOH has allocated P5 million for the healthcare providers in Puerto Princesa City, including the BHWs.