(PNA file photo by Nef Luczon)

MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Thursday urged the bicameral conference committee to ensure that allotment for the One Covid-19 Allowance (OCA) or the Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) for healthcare workers is prioritized.

Go said the bicam committee has vowed to reconcile the proposed budget for the release of unpaid allowances and continue to provide it to health workers next year.

"Dapat ibigay sa kanila ang nararapat. Napakaliit po na halaga ito sa sakripisyong ginawa nila. Hindi po natin mararating itong ating kampanya laban sa Covid-19 kundi po sa tulong ng ating mga healthcare workers na nagsasakripisyo at nagbuwis pa ng kanilang buhay para lang malampasan itong krisis na ito (They should get what is due them. This is just a very small amount compared to the sacrifices they have made. We would not have achieved this campaign against Covid-19 if not for the help of our healthcare workers who sacrificed and have even gave their lives so we can survive this crisis)," Go said after the groundbreaking of a Super Health Center and distribution of aid to indigents and flood victims in Biñan Citym Laguna.

The Department of Health recently sent a letter to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) asking for an additional PHP27 billion for HEAs.

Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health vowed to find ways to include the funding of the allowances in the 2023 national budget.

"Ako po ay nakikiusap sa mga kasamahan ko sa bicam, sa senado, sa kongreso, ang even sa executive na pagdating ng panahon, unti-unti ay dapat na maibigay sa kanila ang kung ang nararapat (I am asking my colleagues in bicam, the Senate, the Congress, even the executive that when the time comes, little by little they should be given what they deserve)," the lawmaker appealed.

The DBM approved in October this year the release of around PHP11.5 billion for OCA and HEA claims to over 1.6 million qualified beneficiaries for January to June 2022.

DOH officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire hopes that the unpaid allowances will be released before Christmas. (PNA)