SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go welcomed the signing of Administrative Order No. 42 which authorizes the continued provision of the COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance to qualified health workers during this State of National Emergency. The new order was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, June 1.
“Bigyan po natin ng pansin ang mga karapatan ng ating frontliners. Pakinggan at tulungan natin sila dahil sila ang mga sundalong araw-araw na humaharap at nakikibaka upang magtagumpay ang ating bansa sa hamon na dala ng COVID-19,” began Go, also chair of the Senate Committee on Health.
“Gamitin po natin ang pondong mayro’n tayo para mabigyan ng proteksyon at alaga ang ating mga health workers, doctors, nurses at iba pang frontliners,” he added.
The order amends AO 36, signed last November 16, and directs all national government agencies, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and local government units to further grant an SRA not exceeding P5,000 per month to qualified health workers who are directly catering to or in contact with CoVID-19 patients.
Moreover, the allowance shall be pro-rated based on the number of days that the health workers physically report for work in a month from September 15, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
The additional budget shall be sourced from the funding prescribed under Republic Act No. 11494, otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act; which has been extended for release, obligation and disbursement until 30 June 2021, pursuant to RA No. 11519.
At the onset of the pandemic, the Senator had proposed for government agencies, GOCCs and LGUs to be authorized to grant their health workers an SRA that is equivalent to a percentage of their basic monthly salary.
He, then, served as a co-author and co-sponsor of RA No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. He also helped see to the passage of RA No. 11494 as one of the Senate Bicameral Conferees on the measure. Both laws provide for the provision of the SRA.
The SRA, defended Go, serves to recognize the heroic and invaluable contributions of the health workers and to mitigate their physical discomfort, distress as well as perils associated with the performance of their tasks.
Last December, he issued a personal appeal to the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Health to hasten the release of the funds and delivery of their commitments amid reported delays on the release of the SRA and Active Hazard Pay benefits.
“Hindi lang naman po compensation ang issue dito. The best way to help the health sector respond to this crisis is by sufficiently providing them with the tools and protection needed to do their jobs. Nararapat lamang na mabigyan sila ng dagdag na tulong pinansyal bilang pagkilala sa kanilang sakripisyo,” said Go.