Funds have now been allocated for the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) hazard pay and Special Risk Allowance (SRA) of health workers from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the hospital director announced on Nov. 29, Sunday afternoon.
This after health workers from PGH staged protests to demand the release of their COVID-19 hazard pay and SRA that have been reportedly stalled for six months.
In a letter, PGH Director Gerardo Legaspi said University of the Philippines President Danilo Concepcion approved the transfer of funds for the said dues and allowances.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also reportedly called Legaspi to say that a fund of P94 million has been allocated for the health workers’ SRA and hazard pay in compliance with Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
“Dapat din ninyong malaman na pinadala ng DOH ang MOA sa pagpapalipat ng pondong ito dalawang oras lamang matapos nating isumite ang ating kahilingan sa kanila noong November 27, 2020 (You should also know that the Department of Health sent the Memorandum of Agreement for the transfer of this fund two hours after we filed our request before them on November 27, 2020),” Legaspi’s letter read.
The PGH director also said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Nov. 25 approved the release of funds under the 2020 General Appropriations Act that was labelled “For Later Release.”
He said this will help in the treatment of non-COVID-19 patients, who appear to increase day by day.
“Isa itong tunay na testamento ng pagkilala sa inyong mga sakripisyo at serbisyo sa panahon ng pandemya (This is a true testament recognizing your sacrifices and service in the time of a pandemic),” Legaspi said.
“Ang lahat po ng ito ay pagpapatunay na ang inyong ginagampanang tungkulin sa pagpapatupad ng ating misyon na magsilbi sa ating kapwa sa harap ng mga pagsubok ng COVID-19 ay kinikilala at sinusuportahan (All of this proves that the roles you perform in fulfilling our mission of serving our fellow Filipinos in the face of the challenges of COVID-19 are seen and supported),” he added.
The All UP Workers Union welcomed the development.
On Nov. 20 and 27, some PGH health workers staged a protest at the hospital to demand for the release of their COVID-19 hazard pay and SRA that has been delayed for six months.
The P500 per day COVID-19 hazard pay and SRA were both granted by Malacañang through administrative orders earlier this year.
A few days after the protest on Nov. 20, Legaspi said the delay in the release of the COVID-19 benefits was because they have already spent their funds on the patients and infrastructure.
He also said that they have yet to get a reimbursement from PhilHealth and that the DBM handed its final decision on its disapproval to grant the PGH additional funds on Nov. 19.
The DBM has sinced denied this, saying that its Nov. 11 letter stated that “the payment of the SRA may be accommodated within available Personnel Services (PS) allotments of the UP System, which stands at P667.553-million based on its June 30, 2020 report and net of estimated requirements until the end of the year.”
“The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) wishes to inform the Filipino public that it remains true to its commitment to ensure availability of financial resources to support the operations of the country’s hospitals and medical facilities as we continue to fight against the Coronavirus Diseases 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” its statement read.