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Hazard pay for health workers, other 'frontliners' vs COVID-19 pushed

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Hazard pay for health workers, other 'frontliners' vs COVID-19 pushed
In this photo taken March 13, 2020, personnel from the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the City Health Department train to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Monday pushed for the grant of hazard pay to “frontliners” of the country’s fight to contain the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus disease.

“Every day, our health workers and other heroes from the public and private sector make great sacrifices as they work in the frontlines to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Let us thank and help them by making sure they receive proper compensation due their efforts,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

On Sunday night, the Philippines reported 140 cases of COVID-19 in the country. Twelve fatalities have also been recorded since the first detected case n late January.

Hontiveros said that health workers do not only need face masks and protective wear. “They also need additional takehome pay that is due for their extreme fatigue and risk they endure and face,” she added in a mix of English and Filipino.

Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo (Quezon City) also earlier sought for hazard pay, insurance and other incentives for nurses and other hospital staff.

She noted that the Republic Act 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers states this.

Section 21 of RA 7305 provides that “public health workers...under state of calamity or emergency for the duration thereof which expose them to great danger, contagion...or perils to life as determined by the Secretary of Health...shall be compensated hazard allowances.”

The hazard allowance is equivalent to at least 25% of their monthly basic salary for public health workers with salary grade 19 and below, and 5% for those with salary grade 20 and above.

Hontiveros said that she hopes health professionals in the private sector may also receive similar additional compensation.

FOLLOW: LIVE updates: COVID-19 in the Philippines and the Metro Manila quarantine

Hazard pay to other fronliners

The senator added that hazard pay should also be given to other government employees working to ensure key public services.

“Let us not forget the traffic enforcers, police, military, immigration officers, barangay tanods, office clerks and other government staff that continue to directly serve the public,” she also said.

President Rodrigo Duterte suspended work in the executive branch until April 12, 2020 “without prejudice t the formation of skeletal workforces by government agencies.”

She noted that while the law does not require the private sector to give hazard allowances, she urged employees to “take the initiative in providing additional pay,” to security guards, bank tellers, cashiers, media workers, shopping attendances, restaurant waiters and hotel staff.

"Without our underappreciated security guards, shopping attendants, cashiers and other workers providing basic services, life in the metro as we know it would grind to a halt. Let us extend a helping hand to these workers who in turn, help preserve some sense of normalcy in our communities, even in these difficult times," Hontiveros added.

The Department of Trade and Industry on Monday made public a March 15 memorandum ordering the closure of all malls in Metro Manila, save for “groceries and supermarkets, banks, pharmacists, health clinics, bookstores, hardware stores, food stalls (take out/delivery only).”

Metro Manila has been on “community quarantine” since Sunday midnight, March 15, and will be so until April 14. — Kristine Joy Patag

COVID-19

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

RISA HONTIVEROS

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: December 6, 2022 - 3:59pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

December 6, 2022 - 3:59pm

Students have staged a protest against a coronavirus lockdown at a university in eastern China as authorities across the country take baby steps away from their hardline zero-Covid policy.

Millions of people around China still face restrictions, despite some cities rolling back mass testing and curbs on movement following nationwide anti-lockdown protests last week.

Analysts at Japanese firm Nomura on Monday calculated that 53 cities -- home to nearly a third of China's population -- still had some restrictions in place.

China's vast security apparatus has moved swiftly to smother the demonstrations, deploying a heavy police presence while boosting online censorship and surveillance.

But videos published on social media Tuesday and geolocated by AFP show a crowd of students at Nanjing Tech University on Monday night shouting demands to leave the campus.

"Your power is given to you by students, not by yourselves," one person can be heard shouting in the footage. "Serve the students!" -- AFP

December 6, 2022 - 11:09am

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the United States had a stake in China's response to Covid as Beijing eases stringent restrictions following protests.

"We want China to get Covid right. It's profoundly in our interest that that happen," Blinken told an event organized by The Wall Street Journal.

"It's in the interests of the Chinese people first and foremost, but it's also in the interest of people around the world, so we want them to succeed," he said.

He pointed to the "dramatic impact" to the world of slowdowns in China's economy, the world's largest after the United States, triggered by its earlier policy of imposing sweeping lockdowns in response to Covid outbreaks. -- AFP

December 5, 2022 - 12:54pm

Businesses reopened and testing requirements were relaxed in Beijing and other Chinese cities on Monday as the country tentatively eases out of a strict zero-Covid policy that sparked nationwide protests.

Local authorities across China have begun a slow rollback of the restrictions that have governed daily life for years, encouraged by the central government's orders for a new approach to fighting the coronavirus.

In the capital Beijing, where many businesses have fully reopened, commuters from Monday were no longer required to show a negative virus test taken within 48 hours to use public transport.

Financial hub Shanghai -- which underwent a brutal two-month lockdown this year -- was under the same rules, with residents able to enter outdoor venues such as parks and tourist attractions without a recent test.

Neighbouring Hangzhou went a step further, ending regular mass testing for its 10 million people, except for those living in or visiting nursing homes, schools and kindergartens.

In the northwestern city of Urumqi, where a fire that killed 10 people became the catalyst for the recent anti-lockdown protests, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and ski resorts reopened on Monday. -- AFP

December 2, 2022 - 9:05am

China's top COVID-19 official and multiple cities signal a possible relaxing of the country's strict zero-tolerance approach to the virus, after nationwide protests calling for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedom.

Anger over China's zero-COVID policy -- which involves mass lockdowns, constant testing and quarantines even for people who are not infected -- has sparked protests in major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

But while authorities have called for a "crackdown" in the wake of the demonstrations, they have also begun hinting that a relaxation of the hardline virus strategy could be in the works. — AFP

December 1, 2022 - 12:54pm

China's top Covid official signals a possible relaxing of the country's strict zero-tolerance approach to the virus, after nationwide protests calling for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedom.

Anger over China's zero-Covid policy -- which involves mass lockdowns, constant testing and quarantines even for people who are not infected -- has sparked protests in major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

But while authorities have called for a "crackdown" in the wake of the demonstrations, they have also begun hinting that a relaxation of the hardline virus strategy could be in the works. — AFP

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