DOH: Bicol health workers received P229-M allowances

By Mar S. Arguelles


While complaints mount from public and private health workers across the country about the failure of the Department of Health (DOH) to pay their additional benefits, medical frontliners in the Bicol region, however, had already received theirs and raised no complaint.

Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol director on Wednesday, Aug. 18, said the agency was able to download to various local government units (LGUs) in the region P42-million in Special Risk Allowance (SRA) fund and P187-million Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) intended for thousands of health workers assigned in hospitals and other health facilities attending to patients infected with the Covid-19 disease in the region.


In a statement, Vera said his office has already released in two tranches SRA funds amounting to P42.1 million benefitting 4,314 health workers in both public and private hospitals. The SRA allowances were distributed between Dec. 19, 2020 to June 30 this year.


For the P187-million AHDP allowances, the same were already disbursed to some 20,524 health workers during the same period.


The SRA and AHDP funds came from the national government through the Bayanihan 1 program.


The DOH clarified that the processing of SRA depends on the documents submitted by LGUs to DOH. LGUs determine who are qualified to receive the SRA and AHDP based on the guidelines and official template provided by the health department.


Meanwhile, Vera said that so far his office has not received any formal complaint on the non-payment of benefits from health workers in the region.


The DOH downplayed reports that Bicol health workers would join the planned nationwide strike to protest the non-payment of benefits by the DOH.


“Health workers are essential personnel and should be commended for providing their utmost services despite the risks of getting infected with the virus,” Vera said.


The DOH ensures that their efforts in maintaining public health amid the pandemic are recognized and properly compensated.