DOH calls on volunteer health professionals in fight vs COVID-19 with P500 daily allowance

DOH calls on volunteer health professionals in fight vs COVID-19 with P500 daily allowance
This undated photo shows the response team for COVID-19 patients at Quezon City General Hospital as number of patients in city rises.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health are calling medical professionals to join the government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and they will be paid P500 pesos for each day in the 28-day volunteer engagement.

DOH is extending the call to hospital doctors, nurses, nursing assistants and other medical professionals such as radiologists or dieticians. Orderlies who are high school graduates with experience in the medical field are also called to volunteer.

"At the DOH Healthcare Warrior Portal, we are looking for medical professionals and non-medical professionals willing to stand on the front lines against COVID-19. We provide the opportunity for the best of the best to sign up,” the landing page of the portal read.

Those who will sign up will be assigned in the three designated COVID-19 hospitals: Lung Center, Philippine General Hospital or Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Hospital.

The volunteer work engagement will be for a month: 14 days of eight hour shifts and 14 days mandatory on-site quarantine.

Personal protective equipment while working, as well as accommodation and food will be provided.

“You will be paid Php 500 for every day of this month-long contribution,” DOH said. The Department of Labor and Employment set of daily minimum wage of non-agriculture workers in the National Capital Region at P537.

“After this great contribution to your country, you may return home to your family,” DOH added.

The Health department also said that P100,000 will be given to health workers who may contract severe COVID-19 while on duty, while P1 million will be given to those who may die fighting the pandemic. These compensations are included in the recently signed Bayanihan To Heal As One law.

The Philippines on Friday reported 96 new cases, bringing the national tally to 803.

The country has recorded 54 deaths — nine of these, according to an Agence France Presse report, are doctors.

P500 allowance an insult

Labor group Defend Jobs Philippines slammed the offered daily allowance of P500 for the health professionals as “nothing but an insult to our COVID-19 frontliners.”

Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs spokesperson, pointed out in a statement that the offer is below minimum wage requirement.

“We are enraged to know that DOH, as a government agency, violates our own labor policies as it does not comply to the minimum wage requirement mandated by the law,” Ifurung said.

“If the Health Department is really serious in addressing and resolving the COVID-19 pandemic then it must first and foremost take care of the welfare of our medical and non-medical professionals who are risking their lives in the frontline of the battle against coronavirus,” he also said.

Defend Jobs urged the national government to hike the wages of newly-hired healthcare professionals.

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