By Mario Casayuran
Senator Joseph Victor ‘’JV’’ Ejercito has filed two Senate bills, seeking the appointment of at least one barangay health worker (BHW) in every barangay nationwide.
Ejercito, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said he has filed Senate Bills (SB) 1380 and 1406, mandating the Department of Health (DOH) to provide at least one health worker to each barangay nationwide and to increase the salaries and benefits of the BHWs.
“Despite the recorded number of health workers of the DOH, there are still barangays in the country which do not have a barangay health worker or barangay health center to attend to the health needs of the people,” Ejercito said.
The senator pointed out that BHWs are one of the front-liners who provide health care services for the barangay. They undergo basic training program to provide basic, safe and effective health care services to the residents in the barangay.
Under SB 1380, to be known as an Act Mandating the Appointment of Barangay Health Workers in Every Barangay, BHWs shall be appointed by the municipal or city mayor and must be living in the barangay where he/she is to be assigned, or within the city or municipality in which the barangay is to be found.
The BHWs shall be under the control and supervision of the DOH in close coordination with the local government health officer.
Ejercito said once SB1406, known as an Act Mandating the Department of Health to Provide At Least One Health Worker in Every Barangay, is passed into law, BHWs, who are civil service eligible, would receive monthly salary and benefits equivalent to a salary grade (SG) not lower than SG 10 under the Salary Standardization Law of 1989. SBN 1406 seeks to increase the salaries and benefits of the BHWs.
The BHWs shall also be entitled to a Christmas bonus equivalent to their one month salary and all the benefits granted to other barangay employees within their city or municipality, including incentives and benefits under Republic Act 7883, known as the Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995.
The national government would set aside appropriate funding embedded in the national budget for the initial implementation of the Act, Ejercito said.
“The reforms are seen to improve not just the capabilities of the barangay as frontliners in the Primary Health Care Approach but more importantly the availability of the health services to the poor members of the society,” he added.