Quick release of compensation for healthcare workers, frontliners sought

DAVAO CITY -- Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go has urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to hasten the release of the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the Republic Act 11712 or the “Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Healthcare Workers Act”.

Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, said in an interview in Davao Oriental that the health workers, especially those who risked their lives working at the height of Covid-19 pandemic, are waiting for the said compensation.

“Maliit na bagay po ito na dapat ibigay sa mga namatay at nagkasakit dahil sa Covid-19,” said Go.

“Sila po ang ating frontliners, bigyan po natin sila ng importansya,” Go added.

Go said the DBM and the DOH are still finalizing the IRR for 2022, along with the compensation claims in the previous year.

Go said it should be noted that under the law the President is authorized to exercise power to speed up the release of benefits and allowances to the frontliners.

On April 27, President Duterte signed the law covering all healthcare and non-healthcare workers, regardless of employment status, during the Covid-19 or other public health emergencies that may be declared in the future, from the time of the declaration of the public health emergency until lifted by the President.

The law stated that health care and non-healthcare workers are referred to as individuals working in medical facilities and vaccination sites, as well as those involved in pandemic response efforts, outsourced personnel exposed to Covid-19, or other public health threats, and village health workers.

It said the government should grant qualified beneficiaries a health emergency allowance (HEA) for every month of service during a state of public health emergency.

The amount, according to the law, will be based on the risk exposure categorization. Those deployed in low risk areas will receive at least P3,000, and those in minimum risk areas will get at least P6,000. On the other hand, those in "high risk areas" will be given at least P9,000.

The law also stated the compensation for the frontliners who have contracted Covid-19 in the line of duty. A frontliner who will die due to the virus will get P1 million which will be given to the heirs of the covered individuals.

For sickness, P100,000 will be given to the covered individuals with severe or critical cases, while P15,000 will be provided to those with mild or moderate cases.