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#YouthSpeak How does the Philippine government compensate medical frontliners?

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Ever since the Philippine government declared that the whole Luzon was under Enhanced Community Quarantine, there are modern day heroes risking their lives just to control the outbreak, we call them as medical frontliners. They are the people who are doing their best to help those who are in hospitals and quarantine facilities due to COVID-19. So how does the government compensate medical frontliners in the Philippines?

According to Section 1 of Administrative Order (AO) No. 26, National Government Agencies, State Universities and Colleges, and Government Controlled or Owned Corporations are authorized to grant COVID-19 Hazard Pay. The AO provides 500 pesos a day for each person physically reporting for work during the quarantine period.

Aside from this, Bayanihan 1 or Republic Act No. 11469 also provides for a “Covid-19 special risk allowance.”  

Hazard pay is also given under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (Republic Act No. 7305). Section 21 of R.A. No. 7305 provides that health workers in areas declared under state of calamity or emergency for the duration thereof… shall be compensated hazard allowance equivalent to at least 25 percent of the monthly basic salary of health workers receiving salary grade 19 and below, and five percent for heqlth workers with salary grade 20 and above.

Bayanihan 2 also allocates P13.5 billion for hiring emergency human resources for health, augmentation for operations of hospitals, monthly special risk allowance, actual hazard pay, life insurance, accommodation, transportation and meals for health workers.

However, despite these laws granting additional payment to medical frontliners, there are still persistent complaints about hazard pay being denied to medical frontliners.

In a press statement last month, Senator Francis Pangilinan revealed that his office has been receiving complaints that nurses, medical technologists, and other health workers in public hospitals are not given their hazard pay while others were given P150, P250, and P450.  

It is very obvious that our medical frontliners are working under very precarious and disadvantageous conditions. It also does not help that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte viewed our medical frontiliners as threat to his regime.

Just last August, in one of his pre-recorded speeches, President Duterte said “Next time, huwag niyo akong paparinigan ng revolution. Naku, Diyos ko iyan ang mas delikado sa COVID. Eh kung mag-revolution kayo, you will give me the free ticket to stage a counterrevolution. How I wish you would do it.”

After this address of President Duterte, some netizens believed that our health workers are starting a revolution, causing a major discrimination and cyberbullying to medical societies and personnel.

But still despite this incident, our healthcare workers still try their best to serve every Filipino and even to serve their own country. The role of health workers under COVID-19 pandemic is very challenging. That’s why it is much better to refrain from tagging them as an enemy.

I hope the government especially the President gives our medical frontliners the proper respect and compensation that they deserve.

###

Marc is a Gr 12 HUMSS student

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