Press Release | 20 January 2022
The Department of Health (DOH) announced that the provision of COVID-19 benefits to Health Care Workers (HCWs) will continue in 2022, in recognition of their valiant and untiring efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DOH was allocated Php 1.08 Billion in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2022 for the grant of sickness and death benefits to HCWs who contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty. The DOH, together with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), will be issuing a Joint Administrative Order on the guidelines for the grant of benefits so that HCWs may get these benefits faster and easier.
In line with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s pronouncement that the HCWs should be given higher Special Risk Allowance (SRA) in 2022, commensurate with their risks, the DOH will be implementing the One COVID-19 Allowance (OCA) this year. Benefits, which have been previously enjoyed by a limited number of HCWs — Active Hazard Duty Pay for Public Health Workers; Meals, Accommodation and Transportation Allowance; and the Special Risk Allowance, for HCWs directly catering or exposed to COVID-19 patients — shall be discontinued and replaced by a more inclusive and responsive OCA.
The OCA shall be provided to all health workers involved in COVID-19 response in line with the National Action Plan COVID-19 strategy of Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, Rehabilitation, and Vaccination (PDITR+) strategy. Further, the allowance shall be equitably distributed to HCWs, taking into account their COVID-19 exposure classification -- this considers the type of health facility where they are assigned, work setting, and nature of work. Those deemed classified to be high risk will be eligible for Php 9,000.00 per month while those classified as moderate and low risk shall be given Php 6,000.00 and Php 3,000.00 respectively. The OCA shall also be pro-rated.
The DOH has issued Administrative Order No. 2022-0001: Guidelines for COVID-19 Risk Exposure Classification, which will be disseminated in order to have a national database of health workers involved in the COVID-19 response and their respective risk classification. The funds for HCWs benefits is For Later Release (FLR) and thus, will be approved by DBM once all documentary requirements have been fulfilled. The Department, therefore, calls on all public and private health facilities to comply and cooperate to ensure that guidelines are properly reiterated to our HCWs to prevent any miscommunication and fastrack the implementation of the OCA.
Further, the DOH is working tirelessly with the DBM to expedite the issuance of the OCA grant guidelines. “We are working hard to make certain that all our HCWs are well-taken care of by providing them with benefits that will recognize their efforts in fighting through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Lastly, a budget of Php 50 Billion, with Php 7.9 Billion as part of FLR, has been allocated in the 2022 GAA for the provision of One COVID-19 Allowance. However, considering the expected high number of eligible health workers, the DOH is constantly in coordination with the Department of Finance (DOF) to ensure that the remaining Php 42 Billion currently lodged as unprogrammed funds will be prioritized to ensure the implementation of the OCA until the state of national emergency has been lifted.
“By following MPHS and getting ourselves vaccinated, we show that we value and respect our HCWs. As our dear health workers strive to care for all Filipinos, let us do our part in returning the effort by taking care of them as well,” the Health Secretary adds.