By Charissa Luci-Atienza
BHW party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co has appealed to President Rodrigo R. Duterte to grant barangay health workers (BHW) special risk allowance and “other compensation,” especially those who may contract severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection while in the line of duty or who may die while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
She sought the inclusion of the BHWs in the provision of COVID-19 special risk allowance as provided for under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Health as One Act of 2020.
“This urgent appeal, Mr. President, is borne by our BHWs fears, which they have expressed through this representation who is in constant touch with them for support against COVID-19. Our BHWs are worried because they are not covered by the Magna Carta of Public Workers or R.A. 7305,” Co said in her two-page letter dated March 27.
She said the BHWs are also now at the frontline, along with other health professionals and public servants, in the country’s battle against COVID-19.
The party-list lawmaker explained that RA 7305 does not include BHWs as among the country’s public health workers.
“They are considered as volunteers and the great majority of them do not have hazard pay or even transportation allowance,” she said.
“May I add, Mr. President, that a great majority also of our BHWs receive very low honoraria, the lowest at P50 to P150 per month, which they actually use to perform their duties,” she added.
Co also sought clarification whether or not the BHWs are entitled to hazard pay under Administrative Order No. 26.
“Moreover, Mr. President, it is not clear in Administrative Order No. 26 which was issued on March 23, whether our BHWs would be entitled to hazard pay because they are not really considered as LGU employees but volunteers,” she said.
She expressed confidence that under President Duterte’s leadership, BHWs “would be given the support and compassion they deserve.”
Co also thanked the President for his government’s efforts to keep the people safe from COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am hopeful that, with the enactment into law of R.A. 11469, otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, we can win this battle and move on with greater resolve to achieve our national goals,” she said. #