By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Provincial Health Office (PHO) in Negros Occidental revealed yesterday that more than P34 million in special risk allowance (SRA) coming from the national government have already been paid to healthcare workers in the province this year.
PHO head Dr. Ernell Tumimbang said the amount includes P30 million paid to hospitals operated by the provincial government and P4 million to those assigned under the PHO.
According to Tumimbang, based on the specific guidelines set under the Department of Health (DOH), the SRA should only be paid to hospital personnel directly involved in treating COVID-19 patients.
He also pointed out there are other hospital staff and PHO personnel who have been exposed to COVID-19 patients as part of their work.
“These are gray areas,” Tumimbang said.
He further added they will submit a new claims list to the Department of Health (DOH).
Earlier, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said they have yet to receive any feelers coming from local health workers if they will join the ongoing protest or if they are threatening a mass resignation.
According to Lacson, it is going to be a very unfortunate situation if the health workers decide to “walk out” of their jobs.
Healthcare workers in the country have already threatened to resign en masse due to the inability of the DOH to deliver on their benefits amid the pandemic.
The DOH, meanwhile, has made assurances that they are currently addressing the issue and are urging the healthcare workers to reconsider.
The health department said more than P15 billion in benefits have already been released, however, they admitted that some of the workers had been left behind./DGB, WDJ