Go backs proposal to provide fixed monthly SRA for health workers asthey face daily risk

Go backs proposal to provide fixed monthly SRA for health workers as
they face daily risk

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his support
for a proposal to introduce a fixed monthly Special Risk Allowance
(SRA) for both public and private healthcare workers (HCWs) who
physically report for duty in hospitals and other health facilities
amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Go urged concerned authorities to provide a certain level of
flexibility in the implementation of the provisions of the Bayanihan
to Recover As One-Act which provides the legal basis for the provision
of SRA.

“Bigyan natin ng sapat na suporta ang medical frontliners. Bawat araw
ay nasa panganib ang kanilang buhay. Siguraduhin nating mabibigyan ang
lahat ng qualified healthcare workers ng Special Risk Allowance at iba
pang insentibo o benepisyo na naaayon sa batas,” appealed Go.

“Kaya ako umaapela na maging flexible tayo sa pag-iimplementa ng
nakasaad sa batas at kung kakayanin ng pondo ay bigyan na ang lahat
nang qualified ng fixed na amount ng SRA kaysa bilangin pa natin ang
kanilang pag-duty bawat araw,” he added.

At present, all HCWs who are directly catering to or in contact with
COVID-19 patients receive an SRA not exceeding P5,000 per month. The
allowance is pro-rated based on the number of days that they
physically reported for work, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 42
which President Rodrigo Duterte signed last June 1.

To ensure their contributions and the risks they face are sufficiently
recognized, Go also gave his support for expanding the provision of
the SRA to all HCWs serving in the hospitals. He pointed out that
almost all HCWs fall within the scope of the law’s definition given
the high number of COVID-19 cases admitted in the country’s health
care facilities.

“Lahat naman ng health workers na naka-duty ay maituturing na exposed
sa banta ng COVID-19. Hindi nakikita ang kalaban na ito kung kaya’t
mahirap paghiwalayin pa kung sino ang exposed at sino ang hindi,”
continued Go.

“’Pagdating mo sa ospital, ‘di mo naman masasabi. Once nasa loob ka
na, prone at maituturing na exposed ka na rin. Hindi mo masabi na
walang virus sa dinaanan mong floor dahil dito lang ang virus kasi
hindi nga natin nakikita ang kalaban,” he explained in an earlier
interview.

Go added that the government must provide all the support they can to
medical frontliners given their crucial role in fighting the pandemic
and in saving lives.

“As much as possible, kung kakayanin naman ng pondo, ibigay na natin
lahat ng suportang pwede nating ibigay sa medical frontliners dahil
sila naman ang maituturing na mga bayani sa laban na ito,” Go
stressed.

“Hindi natin masusukat ang panganib na hinaharap nila base sa ilang
araw sila in direct contact sa may sakit. Dahil habang nasa duty sila
at nag-aalaga sila ng may sakit, considered at risk na po sila,” he
added.

The Senator proceeded to remind the Department of Health and the
Department of Budget and Management to make sure the relevant benefits
are sufficiently and immediately disbursed to the HCWs as provided by
the law.

As the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and vice-chair of the
Senate Committee on Finance, Go vowed to ensure that the necessary
funds are available in the 2022 national budget for the continuous
provision of the SRA and other related benefits for health workers.

“Kapag dumating ‘yan sa amin sa Senado ay tutulong ako na mahanapan ng
paraan na mabigyan sila ng pondo papunta next year kasi ayaw kong
ma-low morale ang ating health workers. Ipaglalaban ko ang kapakanan
nila palagi,” vowed Go.

“Tandaan natin na bukod sa mga pasyenteng inaalagaan nila, may mga
pamilya rin silang binubuhay. Maging patas tayo sa mga health workers
na dapat makatanggap ng benepisyo,” he stressed

The DOH recently disclosed that it initially proposed to the DBM a
total of P50.4 billion for 365,000 public and private health workers
and their COVID-19 SRA, hazard pay, transport, insurance,
accommodation or meals for a period of 12 months. The SRA has a
funding requirement of P18.03 billion or P1.5 billion per month for a
total of 300,500 health workers. (ai/mtvn)

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