President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to prioritize the compensation and other benefits of healthcare workers.
“By the way, itong mga front-liners unahin mo na lang. If there’s enough money, bayaran mo na (By the way, just put these front-liners first. If there’s enough money, then pay them),” Duterte said during his pre-recorded Talk to the People on Monday night.
There were reports that as much as 40 percent of the country’s frontline healthworkers resigned from the onset of the pandemic.
Some groups of medical professionals particularly from private hospitals have been complaining about the non-release of their special risk allowance (SRA) and the removal of their other benefits.
Duterte earlier signed Administrative Order (AO) 42, which grants Covid-19 SRA of up to P5,000 per month to private and public health workers with direct contact with Covid-19 patients.
Duterte signed the AO “to recognize the heroic and invaluable contribution of our health workers throughout the country, who bravely and unselfishly risk their lives and health by being at the forefront of national efforts to respond to the pandemic.”
The government’s Bayanihan 2 budget has allocated at least PHP15 billion for the health workers’ SRA and hazard pay.Last year, Duterte also signed AO No. 36 granting health workers directly attending to Covid-19 patients with risk allowance, covering Sept. 15 to Dec. 19, 2020.