Additional P888M released for health workers’ SRA — DBM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has tapped an additional P888.1 million to fund the special risk allowance (SRA) of health workers in contact with COVID-19 patients, following directives from Malacañang to release the benefits.

According to a statement from DBM on Friday, the P888.1 million was charged from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund and Unprogrammed Appropriations of the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

This meant that combined with the previous P311 million allowance for health workers, DBM has allocated P1.2 billion for the SRA.

“[DBM] released an additional P888.12 million to fund the Special Risk Allowance (SRA) of eligible public and private healthcare workers (HCWs) who are directly catering to or are in contact with COVID-19 patients from December 20, 2020 to June 30, 2021,” DBM said.

“This was charged from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund and Unprogrammed Appropriations under the FY 2021 General Appropriations Act. With this, the total additional funds released by the DBM for the SRA pursuant to Administrative Order No. 42 as of date have reached P1.2 billion,” it added.

But aside from these, DBM is set to make another release worth P407 million to complete the payouts of the SRA — an issue that drew condemnation from healthcare workers as they feel neglected even if they are at the forefront to fight against COVID-19.

“An additional amount of P407.08 million will be charged against the FY 2021 Contingent Fund to complete the SRAs for an estimated 117,926 HCWs not to exceed P5,000 per month for the covered period and shall be on top of existing compensations as prescribed under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers and the DOH-DBM Joint Circular No. 1, series of 2016,” DBM explained.

“Rest assured that the DBM will facilitate the prompt release of the funds for the SRA to ensure that all eligible HCWs will receive their rightful benefits,” it added.

Last August 21, President Rodrigo Duterte gave both the DBM and the Department of Health (DOH) 10 days to settle the grievances of health workers from both the private and public sectors about their unreceived SRAs.

Duterte’s directive came as nurses and doctors complained of not getting their SRA despite spending a lot of time attending to COVID-19 patients.

Recently, health workers from various hospitals have threatened to either go on a strike or totally resign from their posts even in the midst of a COVID-19 surge brought by the Delta variant.

Several hospitals have already admitted taking a hit in providing services, as some of their frontline staffers have already resigned from their posts.

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