Solon assures HCWs, frontliners that new law will deliver benefits

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte says that the Department of Health (DOH) will properly distribute Covid-19 benefits to healthcare workers (HCWs) under the newly-enacted Republic Act (RA) 11712.

Passers-by walk in front of a mural depicting medical frontliners. (Photo by Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

Formally titled "Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers Act," the bill will see that stipends worth P3,000; P6,000; and P9,000 will be distributed every month by the DOH to HCWs and even non-HCW frontliners operating in low, medium, and high-risk areas, respectively.

Non-HCW frontliners include employees rendering service in hospitals, health facilities, laboratories, medical or temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, and vaccination sites.

Read more here:

“This guarantee of adequate state funding for the emergency benefits and allowances of our medical frontliners, retroactive to July 1, 2021 and which they will receive continuously until the state of public emergency resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is eventually lifted, underlines President Duterte’s recognition of the sacrifices being made by our healthcare workers who have been at the frontlines of the world’s battle against the pandemic for more than two years now,” Villafuerte said in a press statement on Monday, May 2.

Funds to cover the frontliners' financial benefits will be charged against the DOH and from sources chosen by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Furthermore, RA 11712 mandates that the DOH create an "ad hoc grievance board" to ensure that HCWs and non-HCW frontliners receive their financial benefit or health emergency allowance (HEA)by investigating complaints pertaining to undistributed HEAs.

“The HEA shall be released in full if a healthcare worker or non-health care worker physically renders services for at least 96 hours in a month; otherwise, the benefit shall be prorated,” reads RA 11712; Villafuerte co-authored the House version of the bill (10701) prior consolidation with the Senate counterpart (2421).

Those eligible for HEA are also entitled to compensation if they contract Covid-19.

Villafuerte says that in cases of death, heirs are eligible to receive up to P1 million; HCWs and non-HCW workers who suffered from critical symptoms could receive up to P100,000; and mild cases, up to P15,000.