Gov. Chiz Escudero and wife actress Heart Evangelista
By Junex Doronio
MANILA — It came as a sarcastic tweet from former Senator and now Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero that nine out of the 11 nurses deployed in the province did not receive their salaries but it sent chills to the Department of Health prompting the agency to investigate the matter.
“No one got any benefits in violation of their contract,” Escudero said, ending the tweet with the hashtag #SalamatDOH.
In an online briefing on Friday, November 20, DOH Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire claimed the health department’s central office already called the regional health director and finance officers of Sorsogon province to learn more about the issue and to “address it immediately.”
“We’re trying to investigate. Unang-una, gusto ko lang ipag-bigay alam sa ating publiko, we do not take these things lightly,” Vergeire said.
It was revealed during a Senate plenary hearing on Wednesday on the DOH’s budget that over 16,000 Covid-19 frontliners have yet to receive the hazard pay due them under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act because of lack of funding.
Several healthcare workers also have not received their special risk allowance due to legal issues, it was further bared.
“Ayaw po namin merong na-aagrabyado sa mga ginagawa nating proseso especially in this time of pandemic,” the DOH official assured.
She added: “Gusto natin lahat nabibigyan ng kaukulang bayad at tsaka yung kanilang benepisyo dahil alam po natin na sila ay nagta-trabaho at nagmamalasakit para sa ating mga kababayan.”
In a tweet on Thursday night, Escudero posted that of the 11 nurses sent by the DOH to augment their hospitals in Sorsogon during the Covid-19 pandemic, two “only got a salary for two months” when they worked for a total of five months.
He added that the remaining 9 “didn’t get any salary after working for over a month.”
Escudero said only one nurse is now left working in their province.
It was learned that this was not the first time that the DOH received complaints for delayed salaries.
Government health workers and contractual employees hired for the agency’s surveillance unit also did not receive their salaries for up to four months. (AI/MTVN)