Acknowledging that almost all healthcare workers might be considered exposed to the threats of COVID-19, Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go on Monday, September 6, called for more efficient and “inclusive” provision of special risk allowance (SRA).
Go, chairman of the Senate Health committee, echoed the sentiment of his Senate colleagues in expanding the provision of the SRA to all health workers who are serving in health facilities during the COVID-19 crisis.
Senators had said that the SRA should also cover, among others, ambulance drivers, cleaners and hospital workers.
Go noted that the Bayanihan 2 Act limits the provision of the SRA to health workers who are in ‘direct contact with COVID-19 patients’.
He, however, said that given the number of cases being catered to in hospitals and health facilities, almost all health workers could fall within the scope of the definition.
‘’Para sa akin, pag-aralan nating mabuti (it should be studied carefully). I am appealing to the DOH (Department of Health) na pag-aralan ng mabuti. Bigyan natin ng importansya itong health workers, ma-pribado man o pampublikong ospital, dahil sila ang isinabak natin sa giyerang ito (Let us give importance to health workers, who work at private or public hospitals). Ang COVID-19 ang kalaban at buhay ng mga health workers ang nakataya dito (The lives of health workers are at stake here),” he emphasized.
“Mahirap i-determine kung sino ang exposed dahil buti sana kung nakikita natin itong kalaban, itong COVID-19 (To me, it is difficult to determine who are exposed or not because the enemy could not be seen),” he explained.
The DOH has called for a law that would authorize the grant of SRA to all health workers, but senators maintained that the agency can be liberal in granting the SRAs.