Nurses’ group starts 10-day countdown to release of benefits

The Filipino Nurses United (FNU) on Monday started a 10-day countdown to the expected release of health workers’ long overdue benefits following a deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte.

FNU president Maristela Abenojar said the countdown would run from August 23 to September 1.

“Inaasahan natin na by this time nagsisimula na sila doon sa pagre-review ng mga listahan ng mga dapat nilang release-an ng benefits,” Abenojar said in an online forum.

[We expect that, by this time, they have started reviewing the list of health workers who will receive benefits.]

“Ine-expect natin na kasama dito ang lahat ng health workers, hindi lamang po ‘yung mga regular,” she added.

[We expect that all health workers will be included here, not just the regular employees.]

Abenojar said the FNU expected the government to do the following in 10 days:

Immediately release “delayed” benefits for all health workers, including the special risk allowance (SRA), active hazard duty pay, allowances for meals, accommodation, and transportation, life insurance, and death and illness compensation Immediately release guidelines and implement a June 1 memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea that upgrades the salary grade of Nurse II to SG 16 and reverts the demotion of ranks Conduct mass hiring of nurses with plantilla positions Allocate funds in the 2022 General Appropriations Act to upgrade nurses’ salaries and sustain benefits for all health workers

Duterte earlier gave the Health and Budget Departments 10 days to release the benefits and allowances due to health workers.

Following this order, the Department of Health said it would use P311 million from its contingency fund to provide SRA to an additional 20,000 health workers.

Health worker groups earlier warned that they would stage a mass protest if their benefits are not released by the DOH.

Meanwhile, Malacanang on Monday appealed to nurses against resorting to drastic actions in connection with the delayed release of their special risk allowance amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was responding to the Filipino Nurses United (FNU)’s 10-day countdown until the release of their benefits or else they will stage mass actions.

“Huwag naman po sana, kasi pag nagresign po sila, mas marami pong mawawalan ng trabaho sa gitna ng pandemya at wala naman po tayong ayidang maibibigay,” Roque said. –NB, GMA News

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