Health workers group warns of protests if benefits not received by Aug. 31

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) warned to launch mass protests if the Department of Health fails to provide all benefits and compensation to medical frontline workers on Aug. 31.

More than a year of lockdown, health workers said they had enough of promises as they demanded the “long overdue” COVID-19 benefits including special risk allowance and compensation benefits under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which expired last June 2021.

“With this deadline, we are all set to hold a series of protest actions this week as many among us got infected and succumbed to COVID-19 already without enjoying these much-deserved benefits,” AHW president Robert Mendoza said in the health workers’ union issued statement on Facebook.

Specifically, the health workers union issued the following demands:

1.) Special Risk Allowance (SRA) to all health workers, both from public and private hospitals regardless of his/her status of employment. This means that all permanent, contractual, job order and Contract of Service or agency-hired employees should get the SRA.

2.) Release the 70% budget covering the period of September-December 2020 intended for Meals, Accommodation and Transportation (MAT) Benefit that were withheld by the DOH from retained hospitals. Release January to June 2021 MAT benefit to all DOH and GOCC health workers. Release MAT allowance to LGU and private health workers starting September 2020-June 2021.

3.) Release active hazard pay to all public health workers from January – June 2021.

AHW national treasurer Myleen Tiangco, meanwhile, lamented that the recent DOH memorandum specified only releasing the SRA benefit while excluding the other COVID-19 benefits like the meal, accommodation and transportation allowance and the active hazard duty pay.

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said some of the funds for the special risk allowances (SRAs) of healthcare workers are already identified and could be distributed by Wednesday.

He added that a total of P311 million would be sourced from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund to finance the SRAs of more than 20,000 healthcare workers.

President Rodrigo Duterte had also ordered DOH to prioritize payments of delayed benefits for health workers. –LDF, GMA News

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