Fri. Sep 17th, 2021

An official of the Department of Health (DOH) is appealing to health care workers to abandon their plan of staging of a mass protest on September 1.

Health workers wearing protective masks hold slogans during a rally outside a hospital in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. The group is calling on the government for higher pay and demanded to ensure the safety of health workers as the new virus continues to be monitored all over the country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

During a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, DOH Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said a protest would strain the health care system and hospital operations, especially at this time when the country is experiencing a spike in the number of active cases.

“We appeal to our health care workers because this would affect hospital operations, and we all know the situation in hospitals nowadays,” she said in Filipino.

“We hope this kind of action would be deferred in the meantime. Let us give way to caring for our patients. The DOH is doing all it can to provide the benefits and address the concerns of our health care workers,” in Filipino.

The Alliance of Health Workers is giving only until August 31 for the DOH to release the Covid-19 Special Risk Allowance (SRA), hazard pay, and meal and transportation benefits of medical front-liners.

It warned that at least 2,000 health workers would stage a massive protest if the agency fails to meet the deadline.

Vergeire noted that there is a process that the government follows.

“We are doing everything to respond to their concerns. We’re just asking for their patience and consideration not to immediately resort to the actions they are planning,” she said in Filipino, also referring to the mass resignation plan of some health workers.

The DOH has downloaded P311 million to its regional offices for the SRA of at least 20,208 medical front-liners.

Vergeire said the department has requested about P201 million for the allowances of an additional 17,670 medical workers who are not part of the initial batch. 

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