Labor Groups Petitions for Quick Healthcare Worker Benefits Implementation
Employers and labor groups plead for a fast implementation of essential measures amidst the pandemic.
The measures include providing benefits to health care workers, income for employees who need to be quarantined, and assistance for those affected by lockdowns along with the certification of the House Bill (HB) No. 9411 or the “Bayanihan to Arise as One Act”.
Business organizations and workers groups submitted a joint letter to President Rodrigo Duterte to signal the government to take necessary and urgent involvement in assisting healthcare workers in the Philippines.
The letter of intent was signed by the heads of Labor organizations such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President Benedicto Yujuico, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECP) Chairman Edgardo Lacson, Philippine Exporters Confederation (PEC) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) President Raymond Democrito Mendoza, Federation of Free Workers (FFW) President Jose Sonny Matula, and Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SNPM) Chairman Daniel Edralin.
Business Institution leaders, like Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce (FFCCCI) and Industry President Henry Lim Bon Liong, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) President Aurelio Montinola III, Makati Business Club (MBC) Chairman Edgar Chua, and Partido Manggagawa National (PMN) Chairman Rene Magtubo also supported the joint letter.
The organizations plead to promptly address the needs of healthcare workers for their security and order special risk allowance, together with hiring additional healthcare professionals.
In addition, the associations also address the government that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) entirely covers hospitalizations and the rapid intent to resolve pending concerns with private hospitals.
The group also urges the government to supply income-based cost of living and other aspects for those workers quarantined and to provide financial aid to Local Government Units (LGUs) to help those affected by strict lockdowns.
One of the measures the groups urged was the Bayanihan 3 that pushes to save ₱401 billion to use as a fund for pandemic relief.
Moreover, the joint letter suggests improving vaccination efforts, enhancing the ability for free testing, increasing the treatment budget and personnel, and providing more COVID-19 isolation areas.
Technology-based contact tracing applications were also pushed as part of improving the COVD-19 response in the country, allowing relevant government bodies to efficiently track the spread of the virus amid the pandemic.
The groups stated that the full operation of public transportation should be authorized by the government. Boosting contract services and providing LGU funds guarantees a better implementation of health protocols.
Aside from dealing with pandemic concerns, the groups also called the government to resolve corruption problems.
The organizations stated, “The employment statistics only tell us the magnitude of the business and jobs crises, but at the enterprise and household levels, the condition is far worse than many can imagine. This has exacerbated the economic and health issues that we are struggling with, as more people suffer mental strain too in various levels.”
The groups expressed that they are prepared to participate in policymaking to resolve today’s concerns.
According to the group, “To emphasize, we strongly believe that our health and economic frontliners deserve a better solution – one that would not sacrifice the workers and their families, and a system that is based on a well-thought-out strategy grounded on science and urgent social needs.”