Promised distribution of allowance to health workers, a PR stunt for SONA

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Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s announcement that he will distribute the much delayed ₱27 billion Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) to health workers seems nothing but a PR stunt. The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) said it is mind-boggling that its distribution is only being rushed now even when the government already had the funds long ago.

While health workers welcomed the development, it is clear that Marcos Jr only made the announcement as his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) is due. “Why is it only now? Is it because the administration just wants to showcase his accomplishments rather than addressing the urgent needs of health workers?,” Robert Mendoza, AHW national chairman, said.

AHW hopes that health workers in private and local government hospitals will now be given their full allowances, especially as during negotiations with the Department of Health last April, the list of recipients has yet to be finalized.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic period, AHW has led the fight of health workers to obtain the sector’s rightful allowances and rights. As such, Covid frontliners consider the distribution of their allowance an important victory.

AHW and its member unions are set to participate in the upcoming massive protest action to coincide with Marcos Jr.’s second SONA on July 22. They demand living wages, fair benefits, job security, mass staff hiring and the people’s right to health.

AB: Promised distribution of allowance to health workers, a PR stunt for SONA