House leaders push for additional pay for pandemic frontline workers 

Published March 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio

Frontline workers deserve additional pay for continuously performing their duties in spite of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, House leaders said.

Deputy Speaker, Basilan lone district Rep. Mujiv Hataman and House Deputy Minority leader, Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate said such workers include medical personnel, security forces, journalists, immigration workers, garbage collectors, and the like.

Hataman earlier asked the government to institute measures to provide assistance to the most vulnerable sectors of society in its campaign to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

His suggestions include giving hazard pay to those who will stay up and work despite the threat of COVID-19 infection, especially those in the medical field, healthcare workers, immigration employees, members of the media who are covering events, and security forces like the police and the military.

“Itong mga kababayan nating ito yung hindi magdadalawang-isip na isugal ang buhay sa kalsada o labas ng bahay dahil kailangan tumulong sa gobyerno to contain the spread of COVID-19. Sila yung exposed sa virus on A daily basis and we need to protect them,” noted the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor. (These are the people who don’t think twice about risking their lives by going out to help the government contain the spread of COVID-19. They are the ones exposed to the virus on a daily basis and we need to protect them.)

Zarate agreed that these frontline responders should enjoy additional incentives.

“Hazard pay or double salary should be given to frontline responders to COVID-19 cases as well as journalists covering the cases, garbage collectors who are now doing daily collections, and other jobs needed to keep the National Capital Region (NCR) clean and sanitized,” he said.

The Makabayan Bloc member said there should also be a moratorium on house and office rentals, as well as tax collections.

“A suspension and transfer of set schedules in March to April for appointments in government offices like passports, visas, etc…These measures should be done so that workers would not have to risk their lives and health just to eke out a living,” Zarate pointed out.