President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration will make sure that all frontline healthcare workers would receive their hazard pay and other benefits due them, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the assurance, as he apologized for the supposed delay in the release of hazard pay for medical frontliners.
“We apologize. But the administration of President Duterte will not renege on its promise. All benefits that our new heroes, our medical front-liners, should receive will be given to them,” Roque said in a virtual presser.
He made the statement after several medical frontliners celebrated National Health Workers’ Day yesterday by staging a protest action due to the supposed low wages and delay in the release of benefits more than a year since the coronavirus disease 2019 hit the country.
Roque assured healthcare workers that the government is doing its best to ensure the unhampered distribution of their hazard pay.
“While there are some who hold rallies to get their benefits, which is just right because it is part of free speech, the government, by and large, is giving what should be given to our medical frontliners,” he said.
Roque said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has guaranteed that the funds that remain unspent under Republic Act 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, would be earmarked for the health workers’ hazard pay.
“He said the balance that has yet to be released under Bayanihan 1, which is about P1.3 billion, would be channeled to the frontliners’ receivables by way of hazard pay and other benefits that some of them have yet to receive,” he said.
In November last year, Duterte inked Administrative Order 35 authorizing the grant of active hazard pay of up to P3,000 per month to human resources for health (HRHs).
Frontline HRHs refer to medical, allied medical, and other personnel in the public sector, who are involved in the national health care response to mitigate Covid-19 transmission and prevent further loss of lives.
Duterte also signed AO 36, which grants Covid-19 special risk allowance of up to P5,000 per month to private and public health works with direct exposure to Covid-19 patients.
The Covid-19 SRA will be in addition to any hazard pay, hazardous duty pay, hazard allowance, and similar benefits under existing laws, issuances, rules and regulations, and shall be exempt from income tax.*PNA