Bill mandating free transportation for health workers filed

Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo has filed a bill  mandating free transportation through shuttle services for all State  and private health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The vice chairperson of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development filed House Bill No. 7323 or the proposed Free Transportation to Health Workers Act of 2020 to help ease the plight of health workers due to the economic and public health consequences  brought about by  the pandemic. 

“At the forefront of this war are the health workers who are putting themselves in harm’s way to safeguard public health. The physical, psychological, and emotional toll brought about by this pandemic to the health workers cannot be compensated enough,” she said in the  bill’s explanatory note. 

“Health workers not only experience workplace stress. To most of them, even their daily commute to their respective workplaces is a problem. Community quarantine restrictions throughout the country had substantially decreased the availability of different modes of transportation that can ferry them to and from their workplaces,” Castelo said. 

The House Assistant Majority Leader  said HB 7323 requires all public and private hospitals to provide free transportation services to all health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The bill provides that free shuttle services to and from the workplace shall be provided by all public and private hospitals to all health workers.

Covered by Castelo’s measure are all persons who are engaged in health and health-related work and all persons employed in all hospitals, public or private, and medical, allied health professional, administrative, and support personnel employed regardless of their employment status. 

HB 7323 provides that the amount necessary for the effective implementation of the proposed Act shall be charged against the appropriations of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) under the current General Appropriations Act. 

Thereafter, such amount as may be necessary for its continued implementation shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA), it said.

Within 30 days from the effectivity of the proposed Act, the DOTr, in coordination with the Department of Health (DoH), is tasked to promulgate its implementing rules and regulations.