The deployment of more health workers to poor communities will certainly push through as the Department of Health gets Php 8.5 billion funding for the program.
The recently approved General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2019 provides a total of Php 8,570,305,000 budget for Human Resource for Health (HRH) Deployment Program this 2019. Out of this figure, Php 5,138,237,000 will be taken from Personnel Services and Php 3,432,068 from Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses appropriations of the health department.
HRH Deployment Program is the hiring of nurses, doctors, dentists, midwives and other health-related workers to poor communities around the country. Based on GAA 2019, the DOH shall give priority to the following:
- localities where there are barangays without health workers;
- geographically isolated and depressed areas (GIDAs);
- Indigenous People (IP) communities; and
- where the absolute number of poor and the incidence of poverty are high as identified in the latest official poverty statistics of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
In its latest statement regarding the program, DOH said that around 26,000 health workers (mostly nurses at 17,000) will be deployed to the above-mentioned areas, and they are working closely with regional offices for processing of documentary requirements.
The employment of these workers will no longer be under the Job Order arrangement but under the PS Contractual items. The shift will make them eligible for Magna Carta benefits such as Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA), subsistence and laundry allowances, and hazard pay. These workers will also get higher salary rate based on 4th tranche of Salary Standardization Law.
When will be the start of deployment?
We know that only a handful of HRH workers were deployed for the first half of this year due to delayed signing of the GAA, which only happened April 15.
[Related: DOH deployment delayed due to pending budget]
Now, thousands of those waiting for this are asking when will this really happen. According to DOH statement issued May 3, they are still waiting for Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to issue the National Budget Circular which will serve as guidelines on the utilization and disbursement of funds.
Once the DBM Circular is issued, DOH will give the exact timeline for the implementation of the HRH Deployment Program. So, that means the ball is now in the hands of DBM.
“We are eagerly awaiting the start of our deployment program because our human resources support the creation of sustainable service delivery networks to bring us closer to our vision for Filipinos to become the healthiest in Southeast Asia by 2020 and Asia by 2040,” DOH said.
For those who are asking when will be the hiring, DOH through its regional offices (now known as Center for Health Development) has already made the recruitment and selection of health workers as early as October last year. Again, deployment was just delayed due to late approval of the national budget.
I’m sure they will release the list of those accepted applicants through their CHDs once they have go signal from DBM.
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