Go files bill for continuous provision of allowances, benefits tohealthcare workers due to COVID

Go files bill for continuous provision of allowances, benefits to
healthcare workers due to COVID

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go filed Senate Bill No.
2398 which provides allowances and benefits to healthcare workers
during the existence of the state of public health emergency due to
the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the coronavirus continuously spreads around the world and the
number of infections and deaths proliferate, we see emerging
healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic
response, selflessly take lifesaving work against the virus,” Go
stated in the explanatory note of the measure.

“Millions of medical frontliners have faced the challenge of providing
care for patients with COVID-19, while often ill-equipped and poorly
prepared, risking their own lives to save the lives of others,” he
lamented, adding that frontliners are the most essential aspect of the
country’s pandemic response.

SBN 2398, also known as the “Allowances and Benefits for Healthcare
Workers Act of 2021″, provides benefits and allowances to all
healthcare workers who are engaged in health and health-related work
in health facilities during the state of public health emergency due
to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthcare workers include medical, allied health professional,
administrative and support personnel, employed regardless of their
employment status.

Under the bill, a fixed monthly COVID-19 special risk allowance for
every month that they are serving during the state of national
emergency will be provided to them. The allowance will be in addition
to the hazard pay granted under Republic Act No. 7305 or the “Magna
Carta of Public Health Workers”.

The measure also provides Active Hazard Duty Pay exclusively for
public health workers for every month that they are serving during the
national emergency. Likewise, this is in addition to the hazard pay
granted under Republic Act No. 7305 or the “Magna Carta of Public
Health Workers”.

In the event of COVID-19 exposure or any work-related illness or
disease, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation will cover all of
their medical expenses. Public and private healthcare personnel who
contract COVID-19 in the course of their work will also be
compensated.

The aforementioned benefits will be available with retroactive effect
beginning July 1, 2021, and will be tax-free.

The sum required to implement the measure will be charged against the
Department of Health’s current year available appropriations and/or
the current year’s Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund, as well as
any other sources recognized by the Department of Budget and
Management.

As healthcare workers continue their lifesaving work, Go said that “it
is incumbent upon the government to show our gratitude by providing
them allowances and benefits that may improve the financial situation
of both our public and private healthcare workers.”

“They should not be made to indefinitely bear the pressure of fighting
a deadly virus without adequate compensation,” he concluded.

Earlier, Go welcomed the approval for the release of additional budget
to cover the payment of the second and third batch of COVID-19 Special
Risk Allowance for healthcare workers.

“Nararapat lamang na mabigyan sila ng dagdag na kompensasyon bilang
pagkilala sa kanilang sakripisyo. Kailanman ay hindi sila pababayaan
ng gobyerno,” he said.

“Ang ating mga medical frontliners ay ang mga sundalo sa gyerang ito.
Sila ang tinuturing nating bayani sa laban kontra COVID-19,” he added.

In 2019, Go was also instrumental as author and co-sponsor in the
enactment of Republic Act No. 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law

  1. The law gives civilian government employees, including nurses,
    their fifth round of salary increases broken down in tranches.

In the same year, he also pushed and ensured enough funding was
allotted for the implementation of a Supreme Court decision upholding
Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 some 18 years after
the law was enacted. The law increases the minimum salary grade of the
Nurse I position to SG-15. The ruling was implemented the following
year. (ai/mtvn)

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