FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife Taguig 2nd District Rep. Ma. Laarni “Lani” Cayetano on Friday renewed their call for the passage of a bill that seeks to recognize barangay health workers (BHWs) as government employees.
During the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, former Speaker Cayetano said BHWs have always been “frontliners,” yet they have never received adequate compensation for their work.
He said the bill is a “recognition” of the BHWs’ fundamental role in the country’s health care system.
“Katulad ngayon, kung walang BHWs, maraming malnutrition, maraming kabahayan na hindi alam na may mga doktor, lalo na sa mga barangay na unreachable o hindi madaling puntahan, sila talaga ang inaasahan,” he said.
On August 31, the Cayetanos and their allies from the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso filed House Bill (HB) No. 10112 with the aim of compensating BHWs as job-order, contractual, or regular employees.
Under the proposed measure, the funding will come from the 27.61 percent increase in the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of local government units due to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia ruling next year.
Barangay health worker Rizalyn Rosas from Caloocan City thanked the Cayetanos for their efforts to recognize the service she said BHWs are giving “without expecting anything in return.”
“Ako po, twelve years, wala po akong allowance, basta ako naglilingkod lang. Y’ung ‘salamat’ na nanggagaling sa tao ay parang sumweldo na ako ng dalawang libo sa isang araw,” she said.
Before the pandemic, their daily duties included visiting communities to roll out surveys on their medical needs, monitoring children’s weight, and conducting vaccinations.
“Every time po, dala-dala namin yung timbangan, dadalhin po sa bahay nila para katukin. Kahit mahirap, masaya yung aming pakiramdam dahil nabibigyan namin sila ng magandang serbisyo,” Rosas said as she recalled their past experiences during their daily rounds.
However, the former Speaker noted that with the massive unemployment caused by the pandemic, BHWs should not be deprived of financial compensation.
“Actually, kaya hindi nila inaasahan yung kanilang allowance kasi pandagdag lang. Pero nung nawalan ng trabaho yung kanilang asawa o kapatid o tatay o yung breadwinner, doble ang problema,” he said.
Having been promoted to job order status, city health worker Filomena Dizu of North Signal, Taguig thanked the Cayetanos for their initiative.
“Noong allowance pa lang akong BHW, medyo gipit sa pera at hindi ako nakakatulong sa aking pamilya. Pero noong job order na ako, kahit papaano nakakatulong na ako sa bilihin ng bahay at kahit papaano nakakabili ng ako ng mga gamit para sa mga anak ko,” Dizu said.