Unreleased health worker benefits to be probed

PHILSTAR

A congresswoman has filed a resolution seeking to investigate the Health department’s alleged failure to release benefits and allowances to health workers under the country’s second stimulus package.

“The Department of Health (DoH) should determine the reasons for such failure and identify viable solutions to give healthcare workers the benefits due to them,” Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo said in House Resolution 2121.

She also sought the passage of a third stimulus measure that is still pending at the Senate.

Meanwhile, Senator Richard J. Gordon, Sr. said health workers should get the active hazard duty pay and special risk allowance that the government had promised them.

“It is under the law that you receive justified support, not just cash aid,” he said in Filipino during a dialogue with health workers on Thursday.

Under the law, qualified medical workers will get hazard pay and allowance. DoH in June said P9 billion had been released for health workers. But various groups of health workers said many of them had yet to receive the benefits.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has offered to host more Filipino nurses during bilateral discussions with the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. spoke with his Saudi counterpart Adel Bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on and phone and discussed issues of mutual interest.

“The kingdom offered again to host more Filipino nurses where they are deeply appreciated; not depreciated and detained back home,” he tweeted.

About a tenth of the Philippines’ health workers live in poor households, while more than 80 % belong to the middle class or higher, according to a University of the Philippines Population Institute report last year.

Mr. Al-Jubeir told Mr. Locsin to give Filipino health workers “a chance to earn decent living and up their skill set, then get recruited by Western countries, which is fine with the kingdom.” — Russell Louis C. Ku and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan