CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY’s 2nd District Congressman Rufus Rodriguez yesterday vowed to bring justice to the sad plight of nurses employed at the city-owned JR Borja Memorial Hospital, and other private hospitals in the city.
Cong Rufus was reacting to the complaints of government nurses in the city regarding their long-overdue Special Risk Allowance (SRA) of P5,000 each every month, meals and transportation allowances, and other benefits as embodied under Covid-19 Bayanihan Act.
The nurses and other health care workers at said City Hospital claimed they have not received their special risk allowance from January to June of this year, or an equivalent of P30,000 each, excluding their meal and transportation allowances.
“Ato kining hatagan ug pagtagad kay dili tiawtiaw ang sakripisyo sa atong mga nurses as among the front liners in the continuing battle against the deadly enemy of the state, which is the coronavirus disease and its recent mutations,” Rodriguez said.
In an interview with a local radio station here, Rodriguez said he is scheduled for a virtual meeting with DOH Secretary Duque and he would bring the matter to help the nurses at JRBMH.
A top official of the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) on Sunday said they could not blame the healthcare workers threatening mass resignation because of the government’s failure to give their vital benefits, such as SRA, and meal and transportation allowances.
PNA National President Melbert B. Reyes told a television network in an interview that as much as they discourage their members to reach the option of mass resignation, they can’t blame them because also of the Duterte administrations failure to provide them what they need, to continue the very delicate tasks of being front liners in the war against the virus.
“Di natin sila masisisi kung gagawin nila ‘yan,” Reyes added, citing that the concerned government does not really appreciate them because of this failure.
It was learned that the monthly P5,000 special risk allowance (SRA) was stipulated under Bayanihan Act for healthcare workers.
Bayanihan to Recover as One Act as stipulated under Republic Act 11494, and it mandated that healthcare workers are entitled to meals, accommodation, and transportation benefits. In order to provide these benefits to all healthcare workers in the country, the Department of Health reportedly downloaded P2.4 billion to centers for health development, DOH-run hospitals, and the so-called ‘specialty hospitals.’
The DOH said: “To immediately distribute these benefits, given the challenges of providing actual meals to health-care workers who do not follow regular break schedules, some hospitals and facilities opted to provide the benefits through cash, grocery vouchers, grocery items, and the like.”
BUT the DOH also claimed the state auditors allegedly disagreed and instead recommended the return of the ‘controversial allowances’ already been paid by the government.
“The DOH took up the cause of our health-care workers and requested the Office of the President for presidential imprimatur to allow the provision of these benefits in cash equivalents,” a top DOH official said.
On June 1, the report said, the Office of the President responded to the woes of healthcare workers and also recognized the essential needs such as providing them meals, transportation, accommodation benefits in cash equivalents, including gift cheques, grocery vouchers, grocery items in its June 1, 2021, Memorandum.
“Citing provisions of the Bayanihan Law, the health-care workers must be a priority because these benefits are very vital in order for them to actively perform their duties as needed of them as front liners during this difficult time of the pandemic,” Rodriguez said.