HEALTH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III is perturbed that Congress is apparently ignoring the Department of Health’s (DOH) justifications on the delayed release of medical workers’ risk allowances and benefits.
In a television interview, Duque expressed hope that they would be allowed to explain their side to clarify the issue at the upcoming congressional investigation.
“Sana maipaliwanag na ‘yan sa Kongreso sa darating na imbestigasyon nila. May hearing diyan e para doon na magkalinawan dahil paulit-ulit na ng paulit-ulit. Kapag nagpapaliwanag ang DOH, parang di naman nakikinig ‘yung kabila e. ‘Yun naman ang mahirap,” he said.
Duque pointed out that all these allowances in question are well-documented and the funds for it are not sitting idly with the DOH.
He added that the DOH regional offices are in charge of downloading the funds to the hospitals, then the hospital chiefs are tasked to pay their medical frontliners.
“Di naman pwede ang DOH ang magbayad sa mga tao. So kailangan padaanin ‘yan sa mga ospital dahil may accountability ang mga hospital chief, so sila ngayon ang tutukoy,” the beleaguered DOH chief explained.
On the other hand, Duque pointed out that there is a formula in computing each healthcare worker’s hazard pay and risk allowance.
He noted that there are some hospital workers who demand for higher hazard pay even though they do not cater directly to COVID-19 patients.
Meanwhile, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will hold on Wednesday, August 18, a motu proprio investigation into the alleged deficiencies found by the Commission on Audit (COA) in the DOH’s use of its P67.32- billion COVID-19 response fund.
Duque told COA that the transfer of funds in question was supported by documents, and that all the DOH needs to do is to organize and complete the documents.