MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) still has over PHP15 billion worth of health emergency allowance (HEA) to distribute to health care workers (HCWs) who served in public and private hospitals during the pandemic.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, Undersecretary Enrique Tayag reported that the DOH has already distributed PHP 46.4 billion HEA.
"Meron pang natitirang PHP15.2 billion na hindi pa po namin naibibigay at marami pong kadahalinan dito. Una na diyan ay kelangan na po mag-submit ng documentary requirements 'yung mga beneficiaries natin (Around PHP15.2 billion have not been distributed due to many reasons, first of which is for the beneficiaries to submit documentary requirements)," he said.
Secretary Ted Herbosa already met with private hospital associations, such as the United Private Hospitals Union of the Philippines, to explain the situation.
Tayag said that upon continuous investigation and monitoring, the DOH learned that some health care workers in the private sector already received at least five months’ worth of their HEA.
He said the current administration is still taking care of "the arrears from the past two years but it is expecting to release the pending allowances within the year."
"Sapagkat wala na pong public health emergency, kung kelan po iyon inalis ay hanggang doon na lamang po 'yung HEA (Since there is no longer a public health emergency, the HEA will only be up to the time the public emergency was lifted)," he said.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. lifted the state of public health emergency due to Covid-19 on July 22, two months after the World Health Organization declared the end to Covid-19 as global health emergency.
The declaration revoked all pandemic-related orders. including the grant of emergency allowances and benefits to health care workers.
Nonetheless, during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), Marcos assured health care workers of the release of their pending allowances and other benefits.
"Tuloy-tuloy makikipag-ugnayan ang Kagawaran ng Kalusugan sa Department of Budget and Management para sa kaukulang halaga, para nang sa gayon ay makuha ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan at maibaba na namin sa maraming nangangailangan po ng HEA (DOH will continue to coordinate with the DBM for the remaining amount, so we can get it and distribute it to those who need the HEA)," Tayag added. (PNA)