Over P100B needed to pay healthcare workers

The Department of Health on Tuesday said it would be needing a total of P103 billion to pay for the combined benefits of more than 800,000 healthcare workers involved in the Covid-19 healthcare response.

In a media briefing, Health Officer-In-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the newly-released fund worth P1.04 billion from the Department of Budget and Management will only cover the benefits and allowance of 55,211 health workers from September 2020 to June 2021.

Vergeire said the agency still needs to pay at least P64 billion worth of health emergency allowance intended for health workers under the Republic Act 11494, also known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

“We have arrears to our healthcare workers because under the RA for health emergency allowance specifically stated that we should pay them retroactively from June 2021 to December 2021, however, no funds were allocated for it,” she said.

Vergeire clarified that the SRA is different from the One Covid-19 Allowance, which is also yet to be given to healthcare workers.

She lamented that the Health Department asked P76 billion from the DBM to complete the funding for the benefits of the healthcare workers for 2023.

However, she noted that under the National Expenditure Program, the DBM only granted P19 billion programmed, and P18 unprogrammed funds, or a total of P37 billion.

“It is still not enough even if we combine it, we will still be needing P39 billion for us to complete the P76 billion to pay for the over 800,000 healthcare workers,” the Health said.

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