The Department of Budget and Management has released an additional amount of P1.185 billion for the payment for the special risk allowance (SRA) of 63,812 eligible public and private healthcare workers (HCWs) who are directly catering to or are in contact with Covid-19 patients.
The release came after President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the funding request, the agency’s statement read.
“Overall, the DBM released a total of P11.856 billion, which benefitted 562,928 HCWs who shall receive an SRA not exceeding P5,000 per month from December 20, 2020 to June 30, 2021,” it said.
The SRA is an additional benefit received by HCWs, apart from the existing compensations as prescribed under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers and the DOH-DBM Joint Circular No. 1, series of 2016. Health workers have consistently called for the timely release of benefits allotted to them as the country continues to grapple with the health crisis.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who chairs the Senate Health Committee, explained that Covid-19 benefits shall vary according to risk exposure of the health care worker and non-health care worker in particular settings: P3,000 for low risk, P6,000 for medium risk, and P9,000 for high risk.
In response to complaints from public and private HCWs who have yet to receive their SRA, the President has also directed the DOH and the Department of Budget and Management to maximize the utilization of funds for the benefit of the country’s HCWs.
Go also pushed for the allocation of a total of PhP51 billion in the 2022 budget for the compensation of Covid-19 HCWs this year. He said, “Lahat naman ng health workers na naka-duty ay maituturing na exposed sa banta ng Covid-19. Hindi nakikita ang kalaban na ito kung kaya’t mahirap paghiwalayin pa kung sino ang exposed at sino ang hindi.”
The budget for the compensation and other benefits for Covid-19 workers in health facilities in the 2022 budget will be for all public and private health care workers and non-health care workers, regardless of employment status.