Gordon urges DOH to act with dispatch on healthcare workers’ benefits

Gordon urges DOH to act with dispatch on healthcare workers’ benefits

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – Senator Richard J. Gordon called on his Senate colleagues to
prioritize the measure granting the continued benefits of essential
healthcare workers who risk their lives in relieving suffering and
saving lives, especially during this pandemic.

Gordon said his measure, logged as Senate Bill 2371, mandates the
continuing grant of the special risk allowance (SRA) and other
benefits to both public and private health workers with retroactive
application from July 2021.

“Our health workers risk their lives to respond to their duty of
collectively operating the country’s healthcare system during this
pandemic. We earnestly seek for the passage of this measure so that we
can give what is due them,” he said.

“Buhay nila at ng kanilang mga pamilya ang nasa panganib dahil sa
pagtupad sa kanilang tungkulin. Kaya naman ang ating gobyerno, dapat
gawan ng paraang maibigay ang mga benepisyong nararapat para sa
kanila,” he added.

Various healthcare workers have recently held protests to demand the
government to grant them their special risk allowance and hazard pay
as they are at higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus disease
during this pandemic.

Based on 2015 official figures, there are about 488,800 healthcare
professionals in the country. In 2020 alone, about five percent of
the total COVID-19 cases in the country are healthcare workers, 38 of
whom have died due to the virus.

In a hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee he chaired, Gordon
lamented the alleged misuse of the government COVID-19 funds where
healthcare workers’ benefits, such as active hazard duty pay (AHDP)
and SRA, was delayed.

He urged the Senate leadership to calendar the deliberation of SB 2317
he authored, along with Sen. Sonny Angara on next week’s agenda as
Congress resumes deliberation of next year’s national budget.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 constitutes an emergency that threatens
national security. This requires government agencies to implement
urgent and necessary measures to aid the conditions and alleviate the
suffering of the Filipinos,” he said.

According to him, all hospital workers, whether assigned to COVID or
non-COVID facilities should receive their SRA as they are all exposed
to patients and at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, including the
health of their families.

He also underscored that the government must protect and promote the
right to health of the people as stated in the Constitution. (ai/mtvn)

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