MANILA, Philippines — Workers' unions from private hospitals are appealing to the health department to extend the one-day deadline to turn in requirements to receive coronavirus-related incentives, which they said was a disservice to the many dealing with the pandemic.
The coalition in a letter to Secretary Francisco Duque III said the development came as a surprise to both hospital administrators and employees as they only found out about the given date last Monday.
"The records required for the submission of the requirements needed to be retrieved and reviewed," the group said, "and given the tedious workload in hospitals today, would render it impossible to complete given the time frame."
Hospital personnel directly in contact and tending to coronavirus patients are entitled to receive their active hazard pay and special risk allowance per month under the Bayanihan 2 law.
Ten union leaders coming from hospitals such as the Chinese General, St. Luke's, University of Santo Tomas, Cardinal Santos and The Medical City, to name a few, asked Duque to extend the submission for a week.
They continued that per the Metro Manila Center for Health Development, failing to turn in the requirements would only forfeit their receiving of the said pay.
'Disservice to health workers'
"This is unacceptable, and frankly, a disservice to the thousands of healthcare frontliners who have risked their life and limb to combat the COVID-19 pandemic," the letter continued.
Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte signed two administrative orders allowing additional pay to workers in both public and private hospitals.
Administrative Order 35 would grant workers up to P3,000 in hazard pay a month, while Administrative Order 36 would grant special risk allowance at P5,000 for those who directly attend to COVID-19 patients.
It was also revealed in November from DOH's own figures that more than 16,000 health workers have yet to receive their hazard pay, which the group Filipino Nurses United called as government's "gross neglect" to provide just compensation for them.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros in a statement on Wednesday afternoon backed the coalition's call for a weeklong extension, as she said the earlier deadline only adds more burden to medical personnel.
"Not only have our health workers been put under inhumane conditions in this pandemic, but it looks like we're also exploiting them," she said in mixed English and Filipino. "If the reports are true, why are we depriving them of even the small salary and benefits that is rightfully theirs?"
Various issues have long been existing within the health sector, as is with other industries in society, but the pandemic has only exposed further and heightened these over the past months.
Over the course of the health crisis, medical workers have had to deal with discrimination, violence even, on top of the delay in the release of their compensation, along with protesting government's move to halt their deployment abroad in the hopes of better wages, to have more workers tend to patients here at home.
Other regions and provinces in the Philippines considered moderate and low-risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine starting May 1. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Edd Gumban)
The Department of Health reports an additional 1,387 COVID-19 cases in the country, raising the national tally to 444,164.
The DOH also logs 156 new recoveries and 7 new deaths, bringing the total of recovered patients to 408,942 and the death toll to 8,677.
Total active cases in the Philippines now stand at 26,545.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has tested positive for COVID-19, he tells reporters.
Lopez, who says he is asymptomatic and in isolation, says he tested positive on Monday.
The trade department and the rest of the government has been promoting opening up the economy amid a continuing community quarantine across the Philippines.
The total number of coronavirus infections nationwide rises to 441,399 with the addition of 1,574 new cases, the Department of Health reports Monday.
Davao City posts the highest number of new cases with 187. Rizal follows with 96, Pampanga with 80, Quezon City with 69 and Pasig City with 59. — Gaea Katreena Cabico
The Department of Health reports 1,768 more COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, pushing the national tally to 439,834.
The DOH also logs 9,062 additional recoveries and 29 new deaths, bringing the total of recovered patients to 408,634 and the death toll to 8,554.
The total of active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines now stands at 22,646.
Workshops, trainings, seminars, congresses, conferences, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia, and consumer trade shows will be allowed at 30-percent capacity in General Community Quarantine Areas, presidential spokesperso Harry Roque says.
JUST IN | Pinayagan na ng IATF ang workshops, trainings, seminars, congresses, conferences, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia, at consumer trade shows sa mga GCQ area, pero hanggang 30% lang na capacity ang puwede, ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. pic.twitter.com/9WTYgs0dj0
— News5 (@News5PH) December 4, 2020
The following areas are under GCQ until December 31:
- Metro Manila
- Lanao Del Sur
- Davao Del Norte
- Ioilo City
- Tacloban City
- Iligan City
- Davao City
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