Default Thumbnail

House passes bill augmenting health workforce during disasters, health emergencies

December 12, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 220 views

THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to establish the Health Emergency Auxiliary Reinforcement Team (HEART) under the Department of Health (DoH) to augment the health workforce in times of disasters, public health emergencies, and health threats.

With an overwhelming 254 votes, the lower chamber approved House Bill (HB) No. 6518 on Monday.

Under the bill, the HEART shall be composed of the following individuals who shall voluntarily register with the DOH: (a) Licensed professionals in the fields of medicine, nursing, medical technology, and other allied health fields including those who are retired and those who are no longer practicing their professions in a health facility setting; (b) Graduates of medicine and allied health courses and medical students who have completed a one-year medical internship and who have not yet been issued licenses to practice their respective professions; and (c) other health support workforce, including barangay health workers, whose services are necessary in times of disasters, public health emergencies and health threats.

“The State recognizes the need for a reserve force of highly skilled and health-oriented professionals and volunteers who can be mobilized to maintain the capacity to meet surges in the demand for additional manpower in the country’s healthcare system and provide assistance as needed in times of health crises,” the bill’s declaration of policy said.

“Pursuant to this, it is the policy of the State to promote the spirit of ‘Bayanihan’ and enhance the capacity of the nation to expand its human health resources in times of disasters, public health emergencies and health threats of both national and local scale through the mobilization of the Health Emergency Auxiliary Reinforcement Team,” it added.

The authors were Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, House Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, and Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, Jude A. Acidre, Ciriaco B. Gato Jr., Marjorie Ann A. Teodoro, Keith Micah “Atty. Mike” D.L. Tan, Edgar M. Chatto, Luis Raymund “Lray” F. Villafuerte Jr., Miguel Luis R. Villafuerte, Tsuyoshi Anthony G. Horibata, Nicolas C. Enciso VIII, Divina Grace C. Yu, Ma. Lucille L.. Nava, M.D, Dan S. Fernandez, Ray Florence T. Reyes, Ron P. Salo, Alfred C. Delos Santos, Patrick Michael D. Vargas, Jonathan Keith T. Flores, Rufus B. Rodriguez, Christopherson “Coco” M. Yap, Juan Carlos “Arjo” C. Atayde, Teodorico. T. Haresco Jr, Reynante U. Arrogancia, Michael M. Morden, Ambrosio C. Cruz Jr., Paolo Z. Duterte, Eric Go Yap, Edvic Yap (Edvic), Jeffrey Soriano, Edward Vera Perez Maceda, Michael L. Romero Ph.D., Kristine Singson-Meehan, Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, Gus S. Tambunting, David “Jay-jay” C. Suarez, Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas, Gerville “Jinky Bitrics” R. Luistro, Joseph Gilbert F. Violago, Jose “Bong” J. Teves Jr., Anthony Rolando T. Golez Jr., Lordan G. Suan, Kristine Alexie B. Tutor, Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano, Charisse Anne C. Hernandez, Doris E. Maniquiz, Eleanor C. Bulut-Begtang, Ernesto M. Dionisio Jr., Fernando T. Cabredo, Jefferson F. Khonghun, Jernie Jett V. Nisay, Jocelyn P.
Tulfo, Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr., Maria Carmen S. Zamora, Ma. Victoria C. Co-Pilar, Ricardo S. Cruz Jr., Dante S. Garcia, Angelica Natasha Co, Maria Vanessa C. Aumentado, Carlito S. Marquez, Wilter Y. Palma, Peter B. Miguel, Carmelo “Jon” B. Lazatin II, Ma. Rachel J. Arenas, Daphne A. Lagon, Maria Angela S. Garcia, Bonifacio L. Bosita, Steve Chiongbian Solon, Richelle Singson, Rodolfo “Ompong” M. Ordanes, Salvador A. Pleyto, Carl Nicolas C. Cari, Caroline L. Tanchay, Alan “Aldu” R. Dujali, Angelo Marcos Barba, Felimon M. Espares, Mark O. Go, Ramon Rodrigo L. Gutierrez, Leody “Odie” F. Tarriela, Laarni Lavin Roque, Francisco Jose “Bingo” F. Matugas II, CPA, CESO, LLB, Elizaldy S. Co, Stella Luz A. Quimbo, Mercedes K. Alvarez, Jose C. Alvarez, Claudine Diana D. Bautista-Lim, Ching B. Bernos, Raul Angelo “Jil” D. Bongalon, Mary Mitzi L. Cajayon-Uy, Luis N. Campos Jr., Arthur F. Celeste, Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Gerardo “Gerryboy” J. Espina Jr., Ed Christopher S. Go, Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Joseph “Jojo” L. Lara, Roy M. Loyola, Ronald V. Singson, Tobias “Toby” M. Tiangco, Alfonso V. Umali Jr., Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr., JC Abalos, Zia Alonto Adiong, Dean Asistio, Solomon R Chungalao, Wowo Fortes, Jaime R. Fresnedi, Edwin L. Gardiola, Edcel C. Lagman, Antonio B. Legarda Jr., Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, Ma. Rene Ann Lourdes G. Matibag, Emmarie “Lolypop” M. Ouano-Dizon, Arnan C. Panaligan, Augustina Dominique “Ditse Tina” C. Pancho, Ramon Jolo B. Revilla III, Eulogio R. Rodriguez, Joseph S.
Tan, Rosanna “Ria” V. Vergara, Samuel S. Verzosa Jr., Rex Gatchalian, Joey Sarte Salceda, Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo, Harris Christopher M. Ongchuan, Shernee A. Tan-Tambut, Noel “Bong” N. Rivera, Loreto B. Acharon, Ralph G. Recto, Emigdio P. Tanjuatco III, Mario Vittorio “Marvey” A. Mariño, Bai Dimple I. Mastura, Antonio “Tonypet” T. Albano, John Tracy F. Cagas, Edwin L. Olivarez, Jeyzel Victoria C. Yu, Richard I. Gomez, and Edsel A. Galeos.

The proposed law also creates the HEART Board which shall prescribe a comprehensive guideline for the recruitment, selection and training of a HEART volunteer. The Board shall also approve the prompt mobilization of the HEART upon receipt of a request from municipal and city mayors and provincial governors in connection with a public health emergency, threats to public health, or a disaster, whether of local or national scale.

The provides that in recognition and appreciation of the HEART volunteers’ service rendered during the period of actual mobilization, implementing agencies may provide volunteers with an allowance as may be determined by the DOH in coordination with Department of Budget and Management, subject to availability of funds, and other existing civil service, budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations.