Press Release
September 4, 2010

Barangay Health Workers Deserve More Than P1,000 A Month - Legarda

Senator Loren Legarda through the filing of Senate Bill No. 1384 proposed an increase in the salary of Barangay Health Workers to Salary Grade 10 (P14,641) and be given a mandatory Christmas bonus aside from the benefits granted to other barangay employees.

"At present, the Barangay Health Workers receive a monthly honorarium of only P1,000 a month."

"With the resurgence of different disease outbreaks that most often emerge in the remotest areas in the country or with every calamity that strikes us, our Barangay Health Workers serve as the caretakers of the lowly Filipinos.

Legarda asserted, "Their importance in the entire chain of health care delivery is of greater imperative now than ever with the dengue outbreak."

"Our health workers are undermined with regard to their meager honorarium and tough working conditions. Even with their relentless efforts in providing health care to our barangay folks who could not afford hospital fees, they are underpaid and not even provided with a health insurance program."

Legarda said she also filed Senate Bill No. 1340 which grants compulsory coverage to accredited barangay health workers under the National Health Insurance Program.

"I am recommending that all barangay health workers and their dependents be enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program for them to receive and avail of an adequate package of personal health services including emergency and transfer services, in-patient hospital care, out-patient care and other supplementary health benefits."

"Our Barangay Health Workers are extremely vulnerable to health risks, as they are exposed to diseases they confront every day. It is indeed ironic that the frontliners of Philippine health care do not have enough means to protect their own. "

"Due to this utter neglect of this crucial sector, many of them find other jobs or take refuge in foreign countries where they are properly compensated. We lose most of our health workers, which creates a shortage of hands on community health care service. Therefore, it is only just that they be honored fittingly and rightfully and be armed with an adequate health insurance program."

In her speech before the National Confederation of Barangay Health Workers of the Philippines at the SM Megatrade Hall, Cebu City, Legarda said the Barangay Health Workers are unsung heroes of our health delivery system.

"For sixteen years, our barangay health workers have been our health information disseminators, the nurturers of expectant mothers and sick children, and the providers of genuine health care to the Filipino in the deepest nooks of the country."

"Our health workers serve as pillars, holding the nation's health care delivery system. It will founder and falter at the grass roots without the inspired and dedicated work of our barangay health workers," Legarda concluded.

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