Health workers win long-delayed Covid-19 allowance

This article is available in Pilipino

Due to their persistent clamor, health workers in government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC), Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and Department of Health (DOH)-owned hospitals have finally acquired their much-delayed Covid-19 allowance or Health Emergency Allowance. They received the allowance on March 13 (GOCC), and in February (PGH and others), which originally was supposed to be released January to July last year.

“The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) extends its warmest congratulations to its committed unions, health workers and other health organizations that have converged in the sector’s struggle for delayed allowances,” stated the AHW national office.

The group says the strong unity, collective action and tireless demand of the health workers before the DOH, Department of Budget and Management and the Marcos government pushed for this allowance to be given. In recent months, the AHW has led continuous protests and pickets at hospitals and before the DOH office as part of the campaign to demand the allowance.

“The awarding of the HEA is an important victory for our health workers who are at the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. They provided care and support to patients, even often risking their own health and the safety of their families,” according to AHW.

Conversely, health workers believe that their struggle for benefits still has a long way to go because until now their fellow health workers in private hospitals and local government hospitals have not received their allowance.

On March 14, private hospital health workers staged a protest to denounce the DOH for keeping their allowances. The United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (UPHUP) conducted the action at the DoH-National Capital Region office in Mandaluyong City.

“You [DoH] have been holding the funds since January. Why do you still not provide HEA for those working in private hospitals?” retorted Ronald Richie Ignacio, spokesperson of UPHUP.

AB: Health workers win long-delayed Covid-19 allowance