Health workers on Monday, Sept. 27, expressed deep frustration and anger after the Department of Health (DOH) presented its "singular allowance" proposal on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) benefits for health workers during a Senate hearing.
In a statement, Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) National President Robert Mendoza feared that the DOH's "singular allowance" would remove health workers' special risk allowance (SRA), active hazard duty pay (AHDP), and meal, accommodation, and transportation (MAT) benefits.
"According to the DOH’s proposal, only one type of benefit will be provided to health workers. And it will be given in different categories, different amounts and worse not all health workers will be given the said benefits," Mendoza said.
AHW also hit the DOH for its proposal to categorize the provisions of COVID-19-related benefits for health workers into low risk, medium risk, and high risk categories of exposure.
Health workers who are classified as having low risk COVID-19 exposure will receive P3K; medium risk P6K; and P9K for those who have a high-risk exposure.
"The DOH's proposal to categorize the risk exposure of the health workers in hospitals and health facilities is completely unacceptable because the virulent virus can infect anyone. Our data showed many health workers assigned in non-COVID areas are getting infected due to lack of protection. So everyone in the vicinity of the hospital and health facility are all considered high risk to COVID-19. Thus, all health workers must receive equal COVID-19 benefits,” Mendoza lamented.
The DOH targets only P526,727 health workers out of the 1.8 million health workers nationwide to receive the said allowance.
"We, health workers, are disgusted with the DOH led by Secretary Duque because instead of implementing its mandate to provide safety, protection, and welfare to the health workers and likewise show compassion, concern, and support in this time of crisis, he did otherwise. This adds up to the many failures and offenses that he did to the health workers," Mendoza added.
"The DOH divided, deprived, and lowered our morale and dignity. The proposal laid out at the Senate Hearing was a manifestation of Secretary Duque’s indifference to health workers safety, protection and welfare and inhumane leadership."
The AHW reiterated its call and demand to provide a fixed SRA of P5,000 per month to all public and private health workers regardless of employment status; provide a fixed AHDP of 3,000 per month to all public and private health workers regardless of employment status; and provide MEAT allowance provided as cash to all public and private health workers amounting to P38,000 per month.
The group also demanded the DOH to provide COVID-19 compensation amounting to P15,000 for mild and moderate cases, P100,000 for severe cases, 1 million for death compensation to health workers, and ensure the continues provision of these benefits until the declaration of state of national emergency or pandemic remains in full force.