By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has rallied behind the passage of a bill seeking to provide P5,000 monthly hazard pay to all public health workers.
TESDA Director General Isidro Lapena expressed the agency’s support to House Bill No. 1036, principally authored by Parañaque Rep. Joy Myra Tambunting.
“This bill aims to give importance and recognition to health workers who continue to perform their duties under hazardous working conditions by providing equal treatment in the giving of hazard pay as provided under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers,” he said in a position paper submitted to the House Committee on Health, chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan.
He said Tambunting’s measure proposes a rational approach in consideration of the welfare of the public health workers and their productivity at the workplace.
“We are in support of this bill as we recognize that it is important to alleviate the working conditions of our health workers by giving them equal treatment when it comes to their hazard pay, ” Lapena said.
Tambunting said an estimated 32,000 health workers will benefit from her measure.
She said Congress should step in and address the several problems being encountered by the National Management Health Workers Consultative Council, the policy making body of Republic Act 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, in the implementation of the present hazard pay mechanism as provided under the current law.
“Stating among others, the disparity of the entitlement causes biases and undue discussions since all public health care workers are exposed to the same risk and are equally susceptible to the prevailing hazardous environment,” she said.
She said Magna Carta provides that the health workers with Salary Grade (SG) 20 and above shall receive a hazard pay equivalent to five percent of their basic salary, while those belonging to Salary Graxe 19 and below shall receive 25 percent of the basic salary.
“Thus, a Senior Resident Physician with SG 20 will receive an amount equivalent to P4,900 hazard pay as compared to a Junior Resident Physician with SG 19 who will receive a greater amount. The irony is both physicians are exposed to the same risk and both are susceptible. Hence, exposure to risks need not qualify nor be subjected to criteria, ” Tambunting said.
Under House Bill 1036, all public health workers covered under RA 7305 are eligible to receive hazard pay amounting to P5,000, which shall be automatically included in the computation of their basic monthly pay.
The bill tasks the Department of Health (DOH) and other appropriate agencies to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.