By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Malacanang is scheduled to grant on Monday, March 23, hazard pay to government personnel who physically report for work while the enhanced community quarantine is being implemented to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation.
Go, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography Committee said he was informed that President Rodrigo Duterte signed an Administrative Order that will be released March 23, granting the request of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the issuance of this order to benefit government workers who continue to fulfill their duties despite being exposed to the risks of this health emergency.
“Let us do what we can to support our government front liners and other workers on duty. These personnel, who risk their lives during this time, deserve to be recognized and be given proper compensation. They continue to work to protect our families. Let’s do our part to protect theirs,” he said.
“Imbes na uunahin nila ang kapakanan nila at ng kanilang pamilya, ninais ng mga personnel na ito na patuloy na magtrabaho para gampanan ang kanilang tungkulin at upang hindi maputol ang mga serbisyo ng pamahalaan. Granting them hazard pay is the least that we can do for them,” he added. (Instead of taking care of themselves and their families, these personnel continue their work so that government services are not disrupted.)
The administrative order authorizes national government agencies, including state universities and colleges (SUCs), and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), to grant hazard pay not exceeding P500 per day per person to personnel who occupy regular, contractual, or casual positions in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other local government units. Personnel who are engaged through contract of service, job order, or similar schemes are also qualified.
The personnel, however, must have been “authorized to physically report for work at their respective offices on the prescribed official working hours” by the head of the agency or office.
The order also states that “personnel who are already entitled to hazard pay, hazardous duty pay, hazard allowance, or other similar benefits under existing laws, issuances, rules, and regulations, such as public health workers, public social workers, science and technology personnel, and military and uniformed personnel, shall continue to be entitled to such benefits or the COVID-19 hazard pay, whichever is higher.”
Including State Universities, and Colleges (SUCs), the hazard pay will be charged against their own funds without need for prior authority from the DBM. For GOCCs, the amount required will be charged against their budget and, in case they do not have sufficient funds, they may grant a lower but uniform rate for all qualified personnel
Employees in local government units (LGUs) and local water districts may also be entitled to the hazard pay but, as with GOCCs, the amount may be at a lower but uniform rate in case of insufficient funds.
Hazard pay may also be granted to employees in the Senate, House of Representatives, the Judiciary, Office of the Ombudsman, and other constitutional offices vested with fiscal autonomy.
Go again urged the public to support government workers who are reporting for work.
“Let us stay at home and follow the authorities. If we have the resources, let us extend help to our health workers, uniformed personnel, and other front liners,” he said.
“Isipin din po natin ang kalusugan at kaligtasan nila. Nananatili sila sa kanilang mga trabaho para maprotektahan tayo. Kaya manatili rin tayo sa ating mga bahay at sumunod sa mga patakaran para maprotektahan rin sila,” he added. (Let us think of their health and safety. They continue with their work to protect us. So let us stay home and follow guidelines and orders in order to protect them.)