MANILA, Philippines — A senator has pressed the health department for updates on the distributon of benefits to health workers after staff at the National Kidney Transplant Institute protested the delay in the release of their allowance under the 'Bayanihan 2' law.
Personnel from the NKTI held a noise barrage on March 11 as they urged the hospital administration to release the P82-million budget for their meals, transportation and accommodation fees.
Sen. Sonny Angara, in a letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on March 12, asked about progress on the benefits for health workers. Under "Bayanihan 2", those working in public and private hospitals and are in contact with COVID-19 patients are to receive a monthly special risk allowance.
The health department in November 2020 admitted in a Senate budget hearing that over 16,000 health workers have yet to be compensated with their hazard pay as funds have run dry.
DOH said 86,348 received hazard pay from more than P824 million allocated for it, it needed some P108.2 million to cover thousands more health workers.
Edwin Pacheco, who heads the NKTI employees' association, said the initial deal with the hospital management was for the release of P18,500 worth of gift checks for meal allowance and P20,000 cash for reimbursement on transportation and accommodation per employee from September to December of last year.
This was after the workers staged an earlier protest on February 4.
Later, the agreement was changed by the NKTI, which said benefits would be given in three to four installments instead.
“We demand from the management to immediately release our long overdue benefits based on our agreement," said Pacheco in a release by the Alliance of Health Workers. "We will not stop until we get the living wage, just benefits and rights we deserve."
Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, asked too for the DOH's comments on the concerns aired by the health workers.
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