Former Sen. Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday appealed to the national government and local lawmakers to prioritize the inclusion of non-medical frontline staff serving in hospitals and quarantine facilities among those eligible to receive Special Risk Allowance (SRA), Hazard Pay, and other benefits.
"Pagdating sa mga benepisyong gaya ng SRA at Hazard Pay - SANA ALL. Ito ang palagi kong sinasabi at ipinaglalaban dahil pareho ang peligro na sinusuong araw-araw ng LAHAT ng nagtatrabaho sa mga ospital at quarantine facilities. [When it comes to benefits like SRA and Hazard Pay - it should include all. This has always been my advocacy because everyone working in hospitals and quarantine facilities are exposed to the same risks,]" Marcos said.
Marcos lamented the delays in releasing the benefits to non-medical and outsourced staff considered essential frontline workers.
"Ang mga guwardiya, janitor, mga non-medical staff sa mga laboratoryo at iba pang support staff sa isang ospital ay itinuturing rin na mga frontline workers pero bakit maging sila ay delayed rin makatanggap ng mga benepisyo? [Guards, janitors, non-medical staff in laboratories and other support staff are considered frontline workers but how come they are also experiencing delays in their benefits?]," Marcos added.
Marcos was also saddened by the fact that healthcare workers had to resort to extreme measures just for their plight to be noticed by authorities.
"Kailangan pa bang mag-aklas ng ating mga frontliners para lang mapansin ng pamahalaan? Hindi dapat ganito. At ang mga ahensiyang gaya ng DoH ay dapat masigurong naaalagaan ang kanilang kapakanan. [Do our frontliners need to make a ruckus just to be noticed by the government? It shouldn't be like this. Agencies such as DoH should ensure that their welfare is being looked after.]," Marcos said.
"Dapat gawing prayoridad ng pamahalaan ang mga panukalang batas na magpapalawak sa saklaw ng SRAs at hazard pay at iba pang benepisyo para sa mga healthcare workers. Bayani sila kung ating ituring, kaya't ipakita natin ang ating pasasalamat sa mga sakripisyo nila sa pamamagitan ng pagbigay ng mga benepisyong nararapat nilang matanggap. [The government should prioritize the bills that will expand the coverage of SRAs, hazard pays, and other benefits for healthcare workers. They are deemed heroes, that's why we should show our appreciation for their sacrifices by giving them the benefits they rightfully deserve.]," Marcos said.
Two separate bills from the Senate and the House of Representatives seeking to give SRA to all public and private health workers during the Covid19 pandemic were filed last week.
Marcos also noted the growing number of hospitals experiencing staffing problems as more health workers either get sick with COVID-19 or resign due to the tremendous workload.
On Monday, Dr. Jonas Del Rosario from the UP-PGH said that 11 volunteer doctors decided not to renew their contracts with the institution. He added that their manpower is overstretched and that they now resort to "task sharing" among departments to sustain the operation of their Covid19 wards.
A few weeks ago, militant health workers groups staged mass protests and walkouts in private and government-run institutions to vent their anger over unreleased benefits.
As a result, the DoH said last week that up to 100,000 healthcare workers will now be able to receive their delayed SRAs and other benefits after the DBM issued two allotment orders to cover its release.