Go cites provision of risk allowance for health workers
(The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After his appeal for the provision of necessary safeguards and promotion of the welfare of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency frontliners, Sen. Bong Go on Monday lauded the government for granting a special risk allowance (SRA) to public health workers during the enhanced community quarantine.

Under Administrative Order 28 signed by President Durerte, a one-time COVID-19 special risk allowance, equivalent to a maximum of 25 percent of their monthly basic pay, will be granted to public health workers who are exposed to health risks in light of the present health emergency.

Under Section 4 of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the President is given the necessary authority to provide SRA to public health workers – referring to medical, allied medical and other personnel assigned in hospitals and healthcare facilities directly catering to or are in contact with COVID-19 patients, persons under investigation or persons under monitoring.

For workers to avail themselves of the grant, they should either be “civilian employees under regular, contractual, casual or part-time positions; workers engaged through job order and barangay health workers regardless of the nature of engagements and have been assigned to healthcare facilities.”

The grant of the SRA will be pro-rated according to the number of days the public health workers were present at their place of work during the period of quarantine.

The order also states that those who reported for work for three to seven days will get 25 percent of the incentive, 50 percent to those who worked for eight to 12 days, 75 percent for 13 to 17 days and 100 percent incentive for those who worked for 18 days or more.

Go also appealed for the provision of proper pay, on top of the SRA and hazard pay, to volunteer health workers.

“Despite being volunteers, they are professionals. They are highly skilled and they put their lives on the line to protect the Filipino people. Let us use the funds available to give them proper compensation and provide them with the tools, facilities and protection they need to resolve this health crisis,” the senator said.

Go suggested that the government can maximize volunteers by engaging them on the basis of contracts of service similar to job orders so that they can be compensated on a daily rate for a limited time period equivalent or close to the amount received by actual government-employed health workers.

He said this was the reason he pushed for the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which also provides that health workers will receive P100,000 each if they “contract severe COVID-19 infection on duty” and P1 million each for their families in case of death.

The senator emphasized the need for frontliners, especially health workers, to be tested for COVID-19, as long as the right process is observed. “There’s an algorithm that determines who gets tested first… Let us give due consideration to our frontliners, given their critical role in defeating this virus.”

Go also highlighted the efforts to procure and produce the much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary tools to equip hospitals in the fight against COVID-19. He thanked private donors for their contributions as he reiterated that a “whole-of-society” approach is needed in combatting the public health emergency.

He urged concerned agencies and the private sector to work together to expedite delivery of PPEs and other medical supplies to the frontliners.

“The best way to help the health sector respond to this crisis is by sufficiently providing them with the tools and protection needed to do their job,” Go stressed.

BONG GO HEALTH WORKERS
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