Poe prods gov't: Address health workers' plea for release of special allowances

Published August 18, 2021, 11:01 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday, August 18, appealed to authorities heed the call of health workers for the issuance of their special risk allowances (SRA) and other benefits to prevent their reported plan to mass resign.


“Our medical frontliners are crying for help. The government must not turn a deaf ear to their woes in their hour of need,” Poe said in a statement.

“Various organization have sounded the clarion call about the planned mass resignation, illnesses befalling our health workers, delays or non-payment of benefits, which must be addressed with urgency,” she pointed out.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordo is set to conduct on Wednesday an inquiry on the delayed provision of health workers benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With reports of billions of unspent funds for COVID-19 response, our health frontliners expect that the government can work around available resources to give their due as they continue to put their lives at risk to take care of the sick,” Poe said.

“We must remember that while the vaccines have become available, the most precious resource of our healthcare system lies in the hands of our health workers. The government must ensure they get the respect, safe working conditions and dignified pay they deserve,” she added.

The Commission on Audit (COA) recently flagged the DOH’s “various deficiencies” in spending over P67.32 billion of COVID-19 response funds. The deficiencies contributed to the challenges and opportunities missed by the DOH in addressing the health crisis, state auditors said.

On Tuesday, August 17, DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega acknowledged that several health workers have yet to receive their SRAs. The agency, however, has no enough data yet on these health workers.

Vega appealed to the health workers to reconsider their plan to resign, saying the DOH is already working to address their complaints.