SENATOR and chair of the Senate committee on health Christopher “Bong” Go issued an urgent plea to the Department of Health to quickly release the active hazard duty pay (AHDP) and special risk allowance (SRA) of frontline health workers almost three months after the signing of Republic Act No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act“.
“With or without a resolution po nananawagan ako sa DOH. Nandiyan naman ang pera, nandiyan naman ang [Department of Budget and Management], nandiyan naman ang inyong opisina so walang dahilan na ma-delay po ang hazard pay ng health workers,” Go said during an interview after attending the launch of the 94th Malasakit Center at the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City, La Union.
The senator warned he would speak out until healthcare workers who have been at the frontlines of the pandemic receive the compensation due to them. He expressed his openness to consider calls for an investigation into the delay to hold accountable negligent officials.
“Hindi po ako titigil kung kailangan magsalita ako araw-araw at ibubulong ko kay Pangulo [Rodrigo] Duterte …. kasuhan kung mayroong talagang may kasalanan. Ako po ay nananawagan na ‘wag niyo na pong tagalan. Hindi pa ba kayo nadala? Mayroon nang nasuspinde ang Ombudsman [dahil sa] delay ng release ng financial assistance ng namatay na medical doctors,” said Go.
The granting of the AHDP and SRA is pursuant to the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act which directs the national government to provide an AHDP to all frontline healthcare workers in the public sector and an SRA to public and private health workers directly catering to COVID-19 patients
Last November 16, President Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 35 which ordered government to grant an AHDP of up to P3,000 per month and AO No. 36 which orders the granting of an SRA not exceeding P5,000 per month.
The DBM and DOH issued Joint Circulars No. 1 and 2 on November 29 which provides the guidelines for granting hazard pay and allowances. Funds for the AHDP and SRA were released to the DOH as early as October 27, according to the latter.
“Bigyan natin ng pansin ang mga kapakanan ng ating frontliners – mga health workers, doctors at nurses. Nararapat lamang na mabigyan sila ng dagdag na tulong pinansyal bilang pagkilala sa kanilang sakripisyo,” Go had said in the past.
“Pakinggan at tulungan natin sila dahil sila ang mga sundalong araw-araw na humaharap sa kalabang hindi naman nakikita at inilalagay ang buhay sa panganib upang magtagumpay ang ating bansa sa hamon na dala ng COVID-19.”