RECOGNIZING the sacrifices of medical frontliners amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go vowed to push for a measure providing health workers continuing and more inclusive allocation of allowances and benefits while the state of emergency due to the pandemic is in force.
During his monitoring visit of the Malasakit Center at the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental on Tuesday, October 12, Go thanked all the Malasakit Center and hospital employees and medical frontliners for the service they have rendered throughout the pandemic, especially in saving and protecting lives of the most vulnerable sectors of society.
“Pinaka-importante ito sa lahat, ang pasalamatan natin ang mga hero ngayong panahon na hindi nababayaran ang sakripisyo — ang ating mga frontliners, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Doctors, nurses, medtech, pati mga security guards at mga utility workers,” said Go in his speech during his visit.
He then assured them that he will push for Senate Bill (SB) 2421 which grants Covid-19 benefits and allowances to public and private health workers during the state of public health emergency.
“Nag-file ako sa Senado, itong inyong Special Risk Allowance or incentives. Walang pili dapat. Itong sinasabi nila na itong mga exposed lang daw, bibilangin ‘yung mga exposed? Pagpasok mo ng ospital, exposed ka na. Bakit? Makikita mo ba ang Covid? Maliit lang itong tulong kumapara sa inyong sakripisyo sa panahon ngayon,” said Go.
“Ako nandito lang at ipaglalaban ko ang inyong kapakanan. Hindi ko na ipagyayabang dahil ‘yan ang aming trabaho,” he added.
The measure provides a Covid-19 Risk Allowance in lieu of the special risk allowance; active hazard duty pay; life insurance; and meals, accommodations and transportation allowance under Bayanihan 2.
The allowance will be given for every month served depending on the risk exposure of the health care workers. Those deployed in low-risk areas shall be given P3,000 per month; those stationed in medium-risk areas shall be given P6,000 per month; and those assigned in high-risk areas shall be given P9,000 per month.
In addition to the Covid-19 allowance, the proposed measure also provides compensation to health workers in the event of Covid-19 exposure or any work-related illness or disease. Furthermore, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. will also continue to cover all medical expenses.
The benefits shall have a retroactive application from July 1, 2021, and shall remain in full force and effect during the state of national public health emergency.
SB 2421 is the committee report sponsored by Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara. It takes into consideration SB 2398 which Go authored.
During the visit, Go’s team also provided meals, food packs, vitamins, masks, and face shields to 301 patients, and 514 rank and file employees of the hospital.
They also gave new shoes and bicycles to select individuals for daily commuting needs. They likewise gave away computer tablets to help children with school activities under the blended learning setup.
He said that despite his candidacy for vice president in 2022, he remains focused on pandemic response, adding that election or political talks can wait.
“Kalimutan muna natin ‘yung pulitika. Huwag nating pag-usapan ang pulitika ngayon, importante sa atin malampasan muna natin itong krisis. Baka wala na tayong pulitikang pag-uusapan kung hindi natin malampasan ito,” said Go.
Ending his message, the senator then urged the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to ensure protection against the virus, as well as their families and communities.
“Kaya pakiusap ko lang sa mga taga-Ozamiz, nandito naman ang mga health workers, at kung mahal ninyo ang inyong mga health workers, kung ayaw niyo na silang pahirapan pa, magpabakuna na kayo,” he said.