MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is doing its best to compensate the health care workers responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday as she appealed for them to reconsider the staging of a mass protest on September 1.
During a Laging Handa briefing, Vergeire said a protest would strain the health care system and hospital operations, especially at this time when the country is experiencing a spike in the number of active cases.
"Kami pa rin ay nakikiusap sa ating mga health care workers because ito po ay makaka-apekto nang maigi sa operations ng ating mga ospital at nakikita naman natin ang kalagayan o sitwasyon ng ating mga ospital ngayon (We appeal to our health care workers because this would affect hospital operations, and we all know the situation in hospitals nowadays)," she said.
"(I)to pong mga klaseng ganitong mga kilos o actions ay sana maiwasan muna natin. Ipagbigay daan po muna natin 'yong ating pagmamalasakit sa ating mga pasyente. Ginagawa po ng DOH ang lahat ng makakaya para maibigay natin ang mga kahilingan at mga benipisyo ng ating mga health care workers (We hope this kind of action would be deferred in the meantime. Let us give way to caring for our patients. The DOH is doing all it can to provide the benefits and address the concerns of our health care workers)."
The Alliance of Health Workers is giving only until August 31 for the DOH to release the Covid-19 Special Risk Allowance (SRA), hazard pay, and meal and transportation benefits of medical front-liners.
It warned that at least 2,000 health workers would stage a massive protest if the agency fails to meet the deadline.
Vergeire noted that there is a process that the government follows.
"Kami po ay ginagawa namin ang lahat para mabigyan ng katugunan ang kanilang mga hiling pero sana po antayin lang po natin at huwag po nating gawin itong mga aksyon na kanilang pina-plano (We are doing everything to respond to their concerns. We're just asking for their patience and consideration not to immediately resort to the actions they are planning)," she said, also referring to the mass resignation plan of some health workers.
The DOH has downloaded PHP311 million to its regional offices for the SRA of at least 20,208 medical front-liners.
Vergeire said the department has requested about PHP201 million for the allowances of an additional 17,670 medical workers who are not part of the initial batch. (PNA)