JRRMMC Health Workers Decry Unpaid COVID-19 Benefits and CNA Incentives

JRRMMC Health Workers Decry Unpaid COVID-19 Benefits and CNA Incentives

In time of Christmas season, health workers of Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC) staged a noon break protest action to express their resentment for the unpaid and long overdue meal, accommodation and transportation allowance under the Bayanihan Law 2.
They also demand for the full provision of their Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) incentive worth P25,000.00 for the year 2021.

To recall, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center and various DOH-retained hospitals only received 30% of the funds intended for meals, accommodation and transportation allowance.

JRRMMC health workers only received 30% of P56M budget for their MAT allowance covering the period of September 15, 2020 to December 19, 2020. The remaining 70% of the funds amounting to P39.2M was withheld by the DOH until now and still not given to JRRMMC health workers.

Aside from that, the December 20, 2020-June 2021 budget for meal, accommodation and transportation allowance is not yet provided.

During the dialogue of DBM, DOH and AHW unions last June 2, 2021, “DOH admitted that “the supposedly appropriated budget for this benefit was already utilized for the purchase of vaccines and other health needs”.

“We are disappointed upon knowing that the funds intended for our meals, accommodation and transportation benefits under Bayanihan Law 2 was used for other health needs without even consulting us, the beneficiaries of that benefit. Besides, the purchase of vaccines and other health needs has a separate fund,” said John Paul Gubaton, Vice-President, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center Employees Union-Alliance of Health Workers (JRRMMCEU-AHW).

“The year 2021 is about to end, but it seems that the DOH and Duterte government have completely forgotten about the promised COVID-19 benefits to us whom they called “heroes” battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

It appears that the battle of health workers over the issue of benefits is not over because apart from the non-release of their much-deserved COVID-19 benefits they are now worried that they will not be able to get their annual P25,000.00 CNA incentives in full.

CNA incentive Bonuses are given yearly in December after a hard-won union’s negotiation with the hospital management.

This is a long-awaited benefit, which is pegged at a maximum of P25,000 per individual.Rank and file health workers expect to receive these benefits this December to pay for their accumulated loans. Monthly salaries of health workers are not enough to pay for their daily expenses for food, transportation and their family’s needs like utilities, house rent, education and health.

JRMMC hospital management claims that they cannot provide the full P25,000 CNA for the year 2021 because there is no accumulated saving due to hospital’s MOOE budget cut. But JRRMMCEU-AHW strongly asked for the hospital management’s transparency and vehemently insisted that available hospital contingency funds can be utilized.

However, the hospital management did not provide the said details.

“We are rightfully and duly demanding JRRMMC to implement what is provided by law. We refused to be deceived. We do not believe that JRRMMC does not have money for the health workers’ CNA incentives,” stated Gubaton.

“Our fight does not end here. We will not stop until they provide what is due for us.” Gubaton ended. (Kiara Lauren Ibanez/BENJAMIN CUARESMA)

REFERENCE: John Paul Gubaton, Vice-President, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center Employees Union-Alliance of Health Workers

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