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HCW benefits bill filed

Republika

Camarines Sur Representative LRay Villafuerte recently authored and filed House Bill (HB) 7490, a bill that would provide hazard pay to all healthcare frontliners and get it to them faster, among other benefits, at the House of Representatives.


The representative stressed that these bills needed to be passed soon, to prevent protests and mass resignation, as well as ensure that benefits are released without the need for a presidential directive.


The bill seeks to provide hazard pay to all healthcare frontliners, including third-party contractors like security and janitorial services, with an added increase of 100% from last year’s PHP3,000. As well as plug loopholes that have delayed the release of these benefits, an issue that several health workers’ groups have been vocal about since the start of the pandemic.


Villafuerte also filed HB 9670 that would increase the rates of healthcare workers’ overtime pay, from 10% to 20% for night shift differential pay, a PHP300 daily subsistence allowance, and PHP10,000 monthly hazard allowance.


Aside from amending the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, the bill also proposes the increase of laundry allowance from PHP125 to PHP500 per month, for workers who are required to wear uniforms.


After the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) cut the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed PHP73.99 billion Covid response outlay to PHP19.68 billion, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III announced that benefits for front liners would no longer be included in next year’s budget at a recent hearing. Special risk pay, meals, and transportation allowances would have all been included in the original budget.


Additional benefits would also not be allocated, he said, as this particular financial aid was already tied into the Bayanihan to Arise as One bill, which is still pending at the Senate.


Meanwhile, the Chief Executive gave the DOH and DBM a 10-day deadline to release pending health care worker’s benefits after several health care workers’ groups again stated that they have yet to receive any benefits amid the pandemic.

Photo: Manila Bulletin


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