Bohol’s medical workers who are at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19 lamented the long delay in the release of their hazard pay allowance which the government promised them.
On November 16, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order (AO) Nos. 35 and 36 authorizing the grant of active hazard duty pay (AHDP) amounting to P3,000 per month to both public and private healthcare frontliners and a P5,000 special risk allowance (SRA) per month to both private and public health workers who are directly in contact with COVID-19 patients.
President Duterte’s issuance of AO 35 and 36 came two months after he signed Republic Act 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).
However, until now health frontliners here in the province have yet to receive their hazard pay and SRA.
Recently, Gov. Arthur Yap and the Department of Health (DOH), through DOH regional director Jaime Bernadas inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) which aims to fast-track the payment of AHDP and SRA as well as providing additional benefits to health frontliners in Bohol.
According to the DOH, the delays in the payment of the hazard pay were caused by the lack of P108.7 million needed to roll out all the benefits.
This despite the fact that the P20.7 billion allotted for the country’s health-related COVID-19 response under the Bayanihan 2, which includes compensation for healthcare workers, had already been released.
Even President Duterte was enraged by the government’s failure to provide compensation to health workers who became severely ill or have died due to COVID-19.
In Bohol, at least seven healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19 from the period December 1 to December 22, 2020, six of them may have contracted the virus from their patients.
The Bohol COVID-19 case map that was last updated by the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (B-IATF) on December 22, 2020 shows the six cases of healthcare workers, all infected through local transmission and another health worker assigned in the provincial surveillance unit, have already recovered.
The six cases involving health responders – one from Antequera, one from Carmen, one from Dauis and three from Tagbilaran City – are among the 50 patients reported as local transmission cases.
As of December 22, Bohol records 22 active cases, 3 of whom are considered local transmission cases, while the other 19 are either returning overseas Filipinos (ROF), locally stranded individuals (LSI) or authorized person outside residence (APOR). (RT, with reports from Rey Anthony Chui, PIA)