The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved the release of P11.5 billion for One COVID-19 Allowance/Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) claims of more than 1.6 million qualified public and private health care and non-health care workers (HCWs).
The Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) covers the unfunded OCA/HEA claims of health care and non-health care workers for January to June 2022.
DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said the government should only support and help health care workers because they are risking their lives amid the ongoing pandemic.
The DBM first released on October 3 the P1.04 billion earmarked for the payment of the remaining 55,211 unpaid Special Risk Allowance (SRA) of qualified HCWs and non-HCWs from September 2020 to June 2021.
In this regard, the Department of Health (DOH) is starting to process the distribution of P1.04 billion and P11.5 billion released by DBM to benefit healthcare workers.
The DOH is preparing the rules for the “sub-allotment” and has informed the “regional counterparts” at the Centers for Health Development (CHDs) to prepare the relevant documents to speed up the disbursement of funds.
Despite this, the DOH still needs additional funds to allocate the services performed by HCWs from July 2021 to the present.
DBM releases P11.5 billion One COVID-19 allowance
It is based on Republic Act No. 11712 or the “Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers Act.”
Meanwhile, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go called for the healthcare system to be strengthened during the public hearing on Monday’s proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Health.
In the hearing, Go, chair of the committee on health and demography, emphasized the importance of the DOH’s 2023 budget for the country’s recovery from the pandemic. It asserted his support for increasing the agency’s funds for improving the health care system.
Go said the health workforce needs to be capacitated and adequately compensated to strengthen the country’s healthcare capacity.
Go said the DOH had allocated a budget of PhP19.9 billion to cover the benefits for three months.
He also emphasized the need to upgrade public hospitals, mainly since poor patients depend on them.