SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, renewed his appeal to the Executive Branch to expedite the disbursement of benefits for healthcare workers.
In an ambush interview after the Bicameral Conference Committee meeting at the Manila Golf Club in Makati City, Go said that as long as COVID-19 poses a risk to the safety of healthcare workers, they should continue to get benefits and compensation due to them in accordance with the law from the government.
“Para sa akin, hangga’t nandyan si COVID, nandiyan pa po ang banta lalung-lalo na po sa ating frontliners, ating mga healthworkers. Dapat pa ring i-compensate natin sila,” maintained Go.
“Bigyan sila ng allowances, bigyan sila ng incentives (na nararapat sa kanila ayon sa batas),” he stressed.
The senator said that the benefits cannot even compare to the sacrifices that healthcare workers are making to guarantee that the Filipino people are protected from the virus.
“Napakaliit na halaga lang po nito sa sakripisyong binigay nila para sa bayan. Hindi po natin makakamtan ito kung hindi sa tulong ng ating mga healthcare workers, sa tulong ng ating frontliners,” said Go.
On December 1, the Department of Health reaffirmed that it is proceeding with the regular disbursement of benefits and allowances to healthcare workers who are employed in both the public and private sectors.
The DOH made the statement in response to a rally that was held in front of the Health Department headquarters by a number of healthcare workers who demanded the release of their benefits and allowances.
In a statement, the DOH stated that “[t]he recent releases of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) were already distributed to the Centers for Health Development.”
Meanwhile, Go said that benefits for healthcare workers must still be part of the national budget for 2023.
“Naglaan po ng PhP19 billion sa programmed at PhP52 billion sa unprogrammed. Ngunit itong unprogrammed po ay hahanapan pa po ito ng pondo,” he said.
“‘Yan po ang magiging malaking hamon, problema po ng ating finance manager kung paano po nila ito hahanapan ng pondo,” he added.
Lastly, Go urged government finance managers and health officials to find ways to continue recompensing health workers, again stressing their invaluable contribution in the fight against COVID-19.
“Nananawagan po ako sa Executive, sa DBM, sa DOH na huwag n’yo na pong tagalan, kung meron kayong mahanap o mawalis na pondo kaya nga po meron tayong unprogrammed ay ibigay n’yo na po sa ating mga healthcare workers, sa ating mga frontliners,” urged Go.
“Maliit na halaga sa sakripisyong ginawa nila. Ulitin ko, hindi po natin makakamtam itong inabot natin sa ating kampanya laban sa COVID-19 kung hindi po dahil sa ating mga frontliners na nagbuwis po ng buhay,” he concluded.