Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, has once again called upon the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure the timely release of necessary allowances for the country’s healthcare workers, in accordance with the law considering their sacrifices and dedication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Go reminded DOH Secretary Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa during a Commission on Appointments (CA) hearing on Tuesday, September 26, that some healthcare workers have not yet received their allowances.
He likewise urged DOH to implement a more efficient and streamlined process to expedite the release of allowances for healthcare workers in accordance with the law.
“Marami po talagang mga backlog pa po na mga payables ng health emergency allowance. Yung mga HEA nila na hindi pa nababayaran, baka may mga backlog pa po from the previous years. Kaya parati akong nananawagan sa DBM, sa Department of Health na bilisan natin (ang paglabas) nito,” urged Go.
“Pasado naman ito sa Kongreso noon. Ipinasa natin ito. Napakaliit lang po niyan na halaga (para) sa sakripisyo na ginawa nila para sa ating bayan sa panahon ng pandemya.
The senator likewise stressed that the least the government can do is to ensure that healthcare workers receive the allowances they rightfully deserve without delay. Go emphasized the importance of continuously supporting the frontliners even after the state of public health emergency had been lifted.
Go is one of the authors and co-sponsored Republic Act No. 11712, which grants continuing benefits and allowances to healthcare workers during public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public and private healthcare workers covered by the law are entitled to HEA for every month of service during a state of public health emergency based on the risk categorization.
Previously, Go expressed his gratitude to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for showing his unwavering commitment to the welfare of healthcare workers. The senator specifically praised the President for urging the prompt release of the much-needed COVID-19 emergency allowance during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July.
“Natutuwa at nagpapasalamat tayo na napakinggan ng ating Pangulo ang mga hinaing ng ating healthcare workers at tinugunan niya ito sa kanyang SONA. Even with the lifting of the State of Public Health Emergency, unahin po natin ‘yung mga medical frontliners natin na nagsakripisyo para sa ating mga kababayan,” Go said.
Earlier, Go also stated that “with or without the State of Public Health Emergency, the government should fulfill its obligations to protect the lives of Filipinos, safeguard their health, and give what is due to them, especially to medical frontliners.”
Moreover, Go also previously expressed his support for the proposed Salary Standardization Law 6, which aims to increase the salaries of government workers, including medical professionals in the public sector.
“Healthcare workers have been facing enormous challenges on multiple fronts. Apart from the physical demands and risks of treating COVID-19 patients, they have also grappled with emotional and mental tolls, and many have had to cope with the loss of colleagues and patients alike,” expressed Go.
“As co-sponsor and author of Salary Standardization Law 5 during the 18th Congress, sana po ay magkaroon pa ng bagong Salary Standardization Law 6. I’m one with the government in seeking to provide another increase in salaries for those working in the public sector,” he added.
Image credits: Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB