MANILA – A total of PHP1-million will be given to all health workers who die while fighting the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic under Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Health as One Act.
Under the new law, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will assure that the service of health workers in the public and private sector will be recognized amid the government’s efforts to combat the deadly virus.
The PhilHealth will also give PHP100,000 to all health workers in the public and private sector who contract severe Covid-19 infection while in the line of duty.
This provision has a retroactive application from Feb. 1, 2020.
Last March 23, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order 26 which grants a “Covid-19 hazard pay” worth at the rate of PHP500 per day to government workers, including health workers, who physically report for work under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
The government workers entitled to hazard pay are those who occupy regular, contractual or casual positions, or are engaged through contract of service (COS), job order (JO) in national government agencies (NGAs), including state universities and colleges (SUCs) and government owned or-controlled corporations (GOCCs).
Public health workers are entitled to the Covid-19 hazard pay if it is higher than their current hazard pay under existing laws.
The private hospitals and other health facilities, on the other hand, are encouraged to grant hazard pay to their health workers and staff exposed to the dangers of Covid-19.
Volunteer health workers
In a statement, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, suggested that the government can maximize volunteer health workers by engaging them on the basis of contracts of service similar to job orders.
This way, he said, they can be compensated on a daily rate for a limited time period equivalent or close to the amount received by actual government-employed health workers.
By considering the volunteers as job orders or contract of service workers, he said they will also be entitled to hazard pay in accordance with the recent memorandum of DBM.
He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has proposed that health workers’ risk allowance will be given on top of the hazard pay.
Under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (RA 7305), all public health workers are entitled to a PHP500 “Covid-19 special risk allowance” per day in addition to the hazard pay.
With this proposal, Go said volunteer health workers may receive around PHP1,500 per day excluding PHP500 hazard pay and “perhaps another PHP500 risk allowance per day”.
A licensed nurse volunteer may get around 2,200 per day while the rate of an entry-level licensed doctor at a DOH-run hospital is salary grade 21, equivalent to PHP59,353 per month, he added. He said volunteer doctors may be given a similar amount but computed on a daily basis.
Initially, the Department of Health (DOH) initially offered qualified volunteers a PHP500 allowance, free food and accommodation and insurance in case they get infected with Covid-19.
To date, 593 health workers already signed up to help the government control the public health emergency.
Qualified volunteers will work in one of the three hospitals in Metro Manila where Covid19-related cases will be referred — Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine General Hospital and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, the DOH said.
Reports showed that over 10 doctors have died due to Covid-19 while others are in critical condition.
Several other health workers have been classified as either patients under investigation (PUI) or persons under monitoring (PUMs).
Malacañang earlier mourned the passing of these doctors and urged the public to pray for all health workers who risked their lives reducing the transmission of the highly-infectious disease.
“Let us join hands in solemn prayers for our health front-liners who daily put their lives on the line as they treat those who have the virus,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
He also reminded health workers to look after themselves, as it was the only way they would be able to fulfill their duties.
“We must all take care of ourselves because in doing so we take care of others,” he said. (PNA)