Press Release
April 29, 2022

Gordon dedicates passage of expanded benefits law to valiant healthcare workers

Senator Richard J. Gordon dedicated the passage of a law that continues to mandate the continued awarding of additional benefits to health workers that have been fighting valiantly against COVID-19.

Gordon, the primary author, and co-sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) 2371, which was signed into Republic Act (RA) 11712, said that he welcomed the long-awaited passage of this important measure.

"We have long fought for the passage of this bill into law for it is necessary to recognize the sacrifices made by our heroic medical frontliners; this is mere appreciation for their efforts to take care of the afflicted and to facilitate recovery of the survivors of this horrible disease," said Gordon on Friday.

"This is also dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in the almost two-year battle with this invisible enemy, their work was the reason why we opened an investigation on where the fund was used," he continued.

It may be recalled that Gordon, the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, lamented the alleged misuse of government pandemic response funds.

Healthcare workers' benefits, such as active hazard duty pay, and special risk allowance, were delayed in awarding by the state.

The state auditor flagged the transfer of Php 42 billion from the Health Department to the Procurement Service of the Dept. of Budget and Management (PS-DBM), which triggered the investigation of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, where it was revealed that the government entered an anomalous deal with an upstart company.

"Because of connivance between higher-ups in government and their cronies, billions of pesos were wasted in pandemic response funds, and because of the passage of this law, we hope that it ensures that this incident shall never happen again," assured Gordon.

The law, which was signed recently, applies to all public and private healthcare workers and non-health workers who work at hospitals, health facilities, laboratories, temporary treatment sites, and vaccination areas.

Outsourced personnel and barangay health workers involved in pandemic response are also covered by the new law, which awards varying benefits based on risk classification.

Healthcare workers deployed in high-risk areas are awarded at least Php 9,000; Php 6,000 in medium-risk areas; and a minimum of Php 3,000 in low-risk areas.

Moreover, heirs of those who have perished from COVID-19 will be awarded Php 1 million; Php 100,000 for critical to severe patients, and Php 15,000 for mild cases.

"I remain grateful to the thousands of health workers who have chosen to remain in the frontlines during this war. We shall always work to make our countrymen's lives better through effective legislation, budget appropriation, and investigation," said Gordon.

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