Malacañang on Thursday urged the Department of Health (DOH) to fast-track the release of hazard pay for healthcare workers in the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the DOH bared that some 16,000 healthcare workers have yet to receive the hazard pay appropriated for them under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which expired in June.
“Ang pakiusap lang po natin, naku, iyong mga tao po na magri-release ng ganitong kabayaran, sana po ay madaliin ‘no (Our appeal is, authorities in charge of releasing this payment, I hope you hasten the process),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
Roque recalled how Duterte, last June, was enraged by health authorities’ failure to provide compensation to healthcare workers who became severely ill or died of Covid-19.
Under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (Bayanihan 1), public and private healthcare workers who become severely ill of Covid-19 in the line of duty are entitled to PHP100,000, while the families of those who died of the illness could get PHP1 million.
“Dahil noong minsan po na na-delay ang mga ayuda na binibigay sa mga namatayan at nagkasakit na front-liners ay talaga naman pong matindi ang naging galit ng ating Presidente. Iwasan na po natin na magalit ang Presidente, palabas na po natin kaagad (When the compensation given to front-liners who died or became ill was delayed, the President was very angry. Let’s avoid getting the President angry, please release it immediately),” he added.
Last March, Duterte issued Administrative Order (AO) No. 26 granting a Covid-19 hazard pay at the rate of PHP500 per day to government workers who physically report for work.
AO No. 26 funds were sourced from the already-lapsed Bayanihan 1.
More than two months after he signed Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2), Duterte on Monday signed AO No. 35 authorizing the grant of active hazard duty pay to health front-liners.
Duterte also signed AO No. 36 authorizing the grant of monthly PHP5,000 Covid-19 special risk allowance to private and public health workers directly in contact with Covid-19 patients. (PNA)