Press Release
September 26, 2021

Praises on social media not enough, give just compensation and proper care to healthcare workers

SENATOR Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, has pushed for tangible benefits like just compensation and additional financial grants for medical healthcare workers as he emotionally expressed gratitude to them.

"Beyond being called heroes, our healthcare workers are entitled to just compensation and proper care," Dela Rosa said on Friday during the hearing of the panel on Senate Bill No. 2406 or the "Health Workers Allowances and Benefits Act," and Senate Bill Nos. 2371 and 2398.

"While we can call them modern-day heroes and lavish them with praises on social media, these will not be enough, especially when we know that their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones, are at stake," the Mindanaoan senator said.

SBN 2406, authored by Dela Rosa, shall grant allowances and benefits to health workers rendering services during the state of public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic as declared by the President of the Philippines.

?"If this is one way for me to concretely express my gratitude to my daughter, and to all the healthcare workers who are the most vulnerable during these times, then I personally commit myself to ensuring the passage of these bills," he said.

During the hearing, Dela Rosa was "carried away" while narrating that his daughter selflessly and lovingly took care of him sometime in November last year when both of them were infected with COVID-19. He said his daughter is just one of many selfless healthcare workers who shoulder the bulk of the burden of COVID-19 response.

"I realized the incomparable sacrifice of our healthcare workers. I saw this in the person of my daughter, Liz. She, herself, is a licensed nurse, and even when we were both sick, halos hindi na niya inisip ang sarili niya. I was always her top priority, kahit na nawalan na siya ng panlasa at pang-amoy," he said.

Under SBN 2406, PhilHealth shall assume all medical expenses in case of exposure to COVID-19 or any work-related injury or disease of healthcare workers in additional to the financial benefits to which they are entitled.

The bill proposes to expand the definition of the term "health workers" to persons who are engaged in health and health-related work in a health facility, vaccination sites, and other related establishment such as medical, allied health professional, administrative and support personnel including maintenance, janitorial, and security personnel of such health facility or related establishment, regardless of their employment status.

Section 4 of SBN 2406 provides for COVID-19 special risk allowance and active hazard duty pay for every month that they served during the existence of COVID-19 pandemic, this is on top of hazard pay and related benefits granted under Republic Act No. 7395 or the "Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, as amended," and for life insurance, accommodation, transportation and meals, regardless of the community quarantine status.

?Also, the bill seeks to provide compensation for those health workers who have contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty in the amount of PHP1 million for the heirs in case of death of health worker, PHP100,000 for the health worker for severe or critical COVID-19 case, and PHP15,000 for the health worker for mild or moderate COVID-19 case.

"These bills have one and only one intent: to make sure that our healthcare workers are well-compensated, especially as they find themselves at the frontlines of this global pandemic," Dela Rosa said.

The former Chief of the Philippine National Police disputed the Department of Health's proposal to have a risk categorization for the grant of the SRA, agreeing with the stand of his colleague Senator Joel Villanueva.

"Yung pag-classify natin into "high-risk", "low-risk", "mid-risk" health workers... gusto ko lang sana i-share 'yung aking experience sa military and sa pulis, 'yung aming combat pay, naka-fix 'yan. Pag sinabi mong P720 per combat pay, ma-expose ka man sa matinding giyera or mahina na giyera, you are fighting NPA, you are fighting MILF, or you are fighting in Mindanao, you are fighting in Luzon, you are fighting in Visayas, pareho lang po 'yan. 'Pag sinabi mong combat pay, fixed 'yan. P720 per month," the former top cop said.

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