The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday vowed compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to release the special risk allowance (SRA) to health workers within 10 days.
In a statement, the DOH said it is working with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Center for Health Development, local authorities, and hospitals to process the release of the SRA.
“I have also given marching orders to concerned offices to comply with the directives of the President on distributing SRA to our healthcare workers within 10 days,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
“Dapat maibigay ang SRA ng mga healthcare workers natin na hindi pa nakakatanggap nito. Patuloy natin sisiguraduhin na makuha ng ating healthcare workers ang kanilang mga benepisyo na naayon sa ating batas, ” he added.
(The SRA should be given to healthcare workers who have not received it. We will continuously ensure that healthcare workers get their benefits in accordance with the law.)
The DOH said it would use P311 million from its contingency fund to provide SRA to an additional 20,000 health workers.
The DBM has also assured health workers that their SRA would be released within 10 days.
Over the weekend, Duterte ordered the DOH and DBM to immediately release the allowances and benefits due to medical frontliners.
Health worker groups previously threatened to stage a mass protest if their benefits were not released.
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, chief of the DOH Administration and Financial Management Team, said the agency would comply with the recommendations made by Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2020 annual report.
“We have always been cooperative with the yearly audit of COA. The DOH always strives to comply with its yearly audit recommendations and this year will not be different,” he said.
“DOH offices and operating units are now working double time to comply with the COA audit findings within 60 days or less,” Duque added.
COA earlier flagged the DOH over deficiencies in its use of P67.32 billion in COVID-19 funds. The agency maintained that the funds are all accounted for. —Julia Mari Ornedo/KBK, GMA News