May 26, 2024

Health Sec. Teodoro Herbosa said the Department of Health is working on a more efficient way to distribute the Covid-19 health emergency allowance to concerned healthcare workers (HCWs).

“I talked to the Department of Budget and Management secretary about this. Find a more efficient way to give the health emergency allowance which is in the General Appropriations Act to each and every health care worker that really worked in the Covid ward,” Herbosa said during a media forum.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he is keen on pursuing measures that would improve the welfare of doctors, nurses and other medical frontliners and to repay them for their sacrifices during the pandemic.

At least four bills have been filed in the House of Representatives and the Senate seeking to amend the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers.

The DOH bill version includes ongoing staff work along with the salary standardization for human resources for health.

Herbosa pointed out the inefficiency in the previous dispensation of Covid-19 health emergency allowance to regional health offices. The regional health offices in turn distributed it to the hospitals.

“Kasi ang nangyari, they sent us a list, we gave them the amount and then, people were added to the list. So, of course, laging kulang eventually,” he said.

“We decided, we’ll just get the list of these nurses and be able to deliver it in a way, the same way, we’ll get their ATM and names of them, and deliver the health emergency allowance to the specific people,” he added.

Citing the DOH’s milestones in Marcos’ second SONA, Herbosa said the President and First Lady Lisa Araneta-Marcos “really want to implement a good health system for the Philippines.”

He said the DOH will ensure that its goals are aligned with the national government’s health agenda which include health care reforms, healthier communities and lifestyle, convergent programs to address hunger and nutrition, pilot of Food Stamp Program, school-based feeding program, routine vaccination catch up, among others.

At least P26.7 billion was been released under the 2023 General Appropriations Act for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program.

About 16,300 healthcare workers have been hired under the National Health Workforce Support System as of Jan. 31. – PNA