BMC exec: Covid-19 frontliners got special risk allowance

By Ana-liza Macatangay


NAGA CITY---Bicol Medical Center (BMC) Chief of Clinics Dr. Mary Jane Guazon-Uy said that their Healthcare Workers (HCWs) who directly handled Covid-19 patients have already received their Special Risk Allowance (SRA) as per the mandate of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).


“The BMC strictly adheres to all DBM directives that benefit and support healthcare workers. We believe that HCWs should be adequately compensated for the health risk they face and the service that they provide to our patients,” Dra. Uy added.


DBM Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said in a press statement earlier this month that their office approved on Oct. 3 the release of a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) amounting to P1.04 billion to the Department of Health (DOH) to cover the special risk allowance (SRA) of eligible public and private health workers involved in Covid-19 health care response.


“We understand and recognize the selflessness and immense sacrifice that our health workers continue to pour out throughout these turbulent times. Isa po itong paraan sa pagkilala sa kanilang sakripisyo,” Pangandaman further stated.


Uy said that all doctors, hospital personnel, and HCWs, particularly at the BMC Covid ward, risked also their health and well-being just to ensure that their Covid patients are given utmost care and attention.

Chief of Clinics Dra. MaryJane Guazon-Uy with healthcare personnel at the Bicol Medical Center (BMC)


“The SRA has been recently improved focusing only on HCW who directly handle Covid patients. All others who are at moderate risk are given a similar allowance. Most of this personnel struggled with long hours of duty before their next shift, not to mention the health risks of not getting enough sleep and rest just to perform their sworn duties. I believe it is only fair that they are compensated,” Uy said.


In a press conference held on Oct. 20, Thursday at the BMC Cancer Center, Department of Health Officer in Charge Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire also confirmed the release of the SRA.


“I think that was 2 weeks ago pa that [DBM releases the additional amount] na 11.5B for the Health emergency allowance and another 1.04B para sa SRA from June to December of 2021. Ngayon kung ano ang exact amount given to Bicol wala kamig datus sa ngayon but we can provide that to you if you really need the data. Kami po ay binababa na natin ang ating mga pera sa mga regional offices natin,” Vergeire stated.


Republic Act No. 11494, otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act mandates the release of funding for Covid-19 SRA. The allowance is for all public and private healthcare workers directly attending to or in contact with Covid-19 patients.


An excerpt from the DBM press release on Oct. 3 states that “to further continue the benefit being provided to all public and private health workers, RA No. 11712 (An Act Granting Mandatory Continuing Benefits and Allowances to Public and Private Health Care Workers During the Covid-19 Pandemic and Other Future Public Health Emergencies, and Appropriating Funds Therefor) was passed into law on April 27, 2022, during the period Public Health Emergency commencing from July 1, 2021. Under this law, the SRA was effectively replaced by Health Emergency Allowance, with amounts provided based on risk levels. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)