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Duterte signs law granting benefits to health workers during health emergencies

The law applies to all public and private health workers and non-health workers who work in hospitals, health facilities, laboratories, temporary medical treatment facilities and vaccination sites.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed legislation granting continued mandatory benefits to health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and future health emergencies.

Malacañang on Friday, April 29, released a copy of signed Republic Act No. 11712, also known as the “Healthcare Worker Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances Act.”

“The State recognizes the essential role of health workers in the provision of quality health care to ensure the prevention of disease in the general population, especially during times of national public health emergency. To this end, the State shall reciprocate by promoting their welfare through the provision of compulsory benefits and allowances with the utmost efficiency,” reads RA 11712.

The law applies to all public and private health workers and non-health workers who work in hospitals, health facilities, laboratories, temporary medical treatment facilities and vaccination sites.

“Outsourced personnel hired under an institutional or individual service contract or work order who are also exposed to COVID-19, or other threats during a public health emergency, are included as non-medical personnel under this law,” the law said.

Also included are Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) assigned to health facilities, including collection and vaccination sites.

The Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) will be granted monthly based on the risk classification to which beneficiaries are deployed.

  • Those deployed to “low risk areas” will receive at least 3,000 P
  • Those deployed to “medium risk areas” will receive at least 6,000 P
  • Those deployed to “high risk areas” will receive at least P9,000

The HEA will be paid in full provided that the beneficiary physically renders services for at least 96 hours in a month, otherwise the compensation will be pro rata temporis.

In addition to HEA, beneficiaries will also receive compensation if they contract COVID-19.

  • 1 million pesos will be given to the “heirs” of the beneficiary in the event of death due to COVID-19
  • P100,000 will be given in case the beneficiary becomes critical or severe case of COVID-19
  • P15,000 will be given in case the beneficiary has a mild case of COVID-19

“The compensation provided for herein will be paid to the beneficiaries no later than three months after the date of birth or death on presentation of complete and compliant supporting documents”, specifies the law.

Below is the copy of the new law.

In 2021, benefits for healthcare workers were the subject of heated discussion as releases were delayed, and questions were raised about who was qualified to receive them.

Lawyers and lawmakers have called on the health department to be more inclusive because all health care workers, whether or not they directly treat COVID-19 patients, are all at risk of contracting COVID-19.

The late release of benefits prompted lawmakers to hold marathon hearings.

– Rappler.com

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