DOH Disbursed ₱15.7 Billion Assistance for Health Frontliner Benefits
The Department of Health (DOH) recently released over ₱15.7 billion for Philippine healthcare workers’ benefits last November 26.
According to DOH, the total amounting to ₱15,719,085,923 was based on the newest Statement of Allotment, Obligation, and Balances (SAOB). The total amount released as of November 26, 2021, was approximately ₱16 billion.
The following amount is the breakdown of where the fund is allocated:
- ₱7,915,760,434 in special risk allowances (SRAs) for 486,585 health workers covering the period December 20, 2020, to June 30, 2021
- ₱6,555,957,185 in 2020 as SRA for 315,652 medical workers and as active hazard duty pay (AHDP) for 390,662 medical workers
- ₱1,231,098,680 for meals, accommodations, and transportation (MAT) benefits for 103,413 healthcare workers
DOH stated that the unsettled demand for additional SRA endowment for both fifth and sixth batches would be assessed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) once the disbursements of the earlier batches are fulfilled.
DOH expressed that they are currently working with DBM and the Office of the President to guarantee funding and authority to provide the MAT to those who have not received it.
DOH conveyed that under the RA 11519, or Bayanihan 2, the provision of MAT benefits was to provide an easier way for medical workers to protect their families who are at risk of contracting the virus.
DOH mentioned, “As these benefits were originally intended to be provided in-kind or as actual services, health facilities that were not able to disburse these amounts for such purpose, have opted to return unspent funds to the DOH before the year ended, to prevent reversion of funds to the Treasury.”
The agency added, “These funds, in turn, were used by the DOH to support other requirements for the pandemic response.”
For the time being, DOH explained that the benefits of medical frontliners had certain limitations regarding the scope and coverage period.
In the case of the Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP), DOH has clarified that it can no longer be accepted beyond December 19, 2020.
Furthermore, the Bayanihan 2 prerogative to SRA has been restricted to those directly serving or exposed to COVID-19 patients as cleared by the Department of Justice (DOJ), therefore the mentioned benefit cannot be granted to all medical workers.
DOH added, “Given these limitations, the DOH has supported ongoing legislative initiatives for the continued provision of benefits for our healthcare workers. The Department is also improving and streamlining its processes to ensure that benefits are equitably and promptly distributed.”