By BAYAN MUNA (PR)
MANILA — In commemoration of Health Workers’ Day, partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño joined health workers from various hospitals decry attempts to cut their allowances and hazard pay at the same time demand for higher wages and benefits for the sector.
Casiño pointed out that it has been more than a decade since the rates of P50 a day and P150 a month were prescribed for subsistence and laundry allowances, respectively, for public health workers. But instead of upgrading the rates, Casiño said the Department of Budget and Management even wants to reduce it.
“As it is, the P50 daily subsistence allowance can hardly get you one ulam yet it is meant to cover three meals. The P150 monthly laundry allowance is just enough to buy laundry detergent, wala pa yung cost of water and labor,” Casiño said.
He stressed that the said the laundry allowance is especially important for health workers because of their need for extra hygiene. Subsistence allowances were equally important due to the low pay given to health professionals in government.
In contrast, uniformed service personnel are already receiving a P90 daily subsistence allowance.
“Ang masama dito ay sinubukan pa itong babaan ng DBM to P30/day subsistence and P125/month laundry through National Budget Memorandum 12 issued December 2011. Baka naman gusto nilang himatayin sa gutom at mangamoy ang mga nars at doctor natin?” he added.
He added that the DOH countered DBM’s memorandum with its own circular retaining the rates and funds to be sourced from its savings. “Eh paano kung walang savings, eh di wala na,” he said.
He further revealed that doctors who were upgraded to salary grades 20 and up under the Salary Standardization Law 3 suffered cuts in hazard pay from 25% of their salary as mandated by the Magna Carta for Health Workers Act to only 5%.
“Marapat lamang na itaas ang sahod at dagdagan ang mga benepisyo ng mga mangga-gawang pangkalusugan dahil sila ang nag-aalaga sa atin kung kelan tayo pinakanangangailan-gan. Kapag tayo ay may sakit o may sakuna ay sila ang umaaruga sa atin upang tayo ay muling mapabuti ang kalagayan. Kaya napakaimportante ang hazard pay dahil exposed sa sakit ang health workers, at importante ang laba dahil sa mikrobyo na kumakabit sa damit nila,” said the progressive lawmaker.
Rep. Casiño is the author of House Resolution 2312, directing the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the determination of subsistence and laundry allowances and hazard pay allotted for public health workers.
Rep. Casiño is also the principal author of House Bill 5230 proposing the re-upgrading of the minimum salary grade level of public nurses from salary grade 11 to salary grade 15 or P24,887 and those occupying higher positions be adjusted accordingly. He is also the principal author of House Bill 5568 proposing the upgrading of the salaries of government doctors to salary grade 24 or P49,750. # nordis.net