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Duterte approves Special Risk Allowance for public health workers

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed an administrative order granting a special risk allowance (SRA) for public health workers (PHWs) assigned on the front lines of the battle against the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Under Administrative Order No. 28, national government agencies, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and local government units are authorized to grant a one-time Covid-19 SRA, equivalent to a maximum of 25 percent of monthly basic salary, to PHWs who have “great exposure to health risks and physical hardships” in the line of duty in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a need to recognize the heroic and invaluable contributions of our public health workers throughout the country, who bravely and unselfishly risk their lives and health by being at the forefront of the national effort to address the public health emergency,” Duterte said in the AO.

The pubic health workers, the AO said, shall refer to “medical, allied medical, and other necessary personnel assigned in hospitals and health care facilities and who are directly catering to or in contact with Covid-19 patients, patients under investigation or persons under monitoring.”

The PHWs, it added, are either civilian employees occupying regular, contractual, casual, or part-time positions or workers engaged through a contract of service (COS) or job order (JO) including barangay health workers.

The grant of Covid-19 special risk allowance will be pro-rated based on the number of days that public health workers physically report for work during the enhanced community quarantine period in their workplaces starting March 17.

Public health workers who have reported for work three to seven days will get 25 percent of the incentive while those who worked for eight to 12 days will get 50 percent and those who reported for work for 13 to 17 days will get 75 percent of the incentive. Those who worked 18 or more days will get 100 percent of the SRA.

On the other hand, those excluded from receiving SRA include consultants and experts engaged for a limited period to perform specific activities or services with expected outputs and laborers engaged through job contracts and those paid on a piecework basis.

Student-workers and apprentices and all individuals and groups of individuals whose services are engaged through COS or JO, including BHWs, who are not assigned in hospitals and healthcare facilities are also excluded.

Last March 23, Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 26 granting a Covid-19 hazard pay worth at the rate of PHP500 per day to a government worker who physically reports for work.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the hazard pay is the government’s way of mitigating the hardship involved in work.

On March 24, Duterte also signed Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan To Heal As One Act which provides PHP100,000 compensation to public and private health workers who may contract severe Covid-19 infection while in the line of duty.

The same law also stipulates a compensation of PHP1 million to public and health workers who may die while fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The entire Luzon is currently under an enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12 which strictly requires residents to stay indoors and limit movement to accessing basic necessities to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. (By Azer Parrocha, PNA)

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