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Duterte issues guidelines on release of COVID-19 special risk allowance for public health workers

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday issued guidelines on the release of special risk allowance for public health workers who are on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

National government agencies, government-owned or-controlled corporations and local government units were authorized to grant one-time COVID-19 special risk allowance, equivalent to a maximum of 25% of the worker’s basic pay, according to Duterte’s Administrative Order 28.

“There is a need to recognize the heroic and invaluable contributions of our public health workers throughout the country, who bravely and unselfishly risk their lives and health by being at the forefront of the national effort to address the public health emergency,” the order stated.

Covered by the order are medical, allied medical and other necessary personnel assigned in hospitals and healthcare facilities who are directly attending to or in contact with COVID-19 patients, persons under investigation or persons under monitoring.

The grant will be pro-rated based on the number of days that the public health worker physically reported for work during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, which began on March 17.

Those who reported for work for three to seven days will get 25% of the incentive while the public health employees who worked for 8 to 12 days will receive 50%.

Seventy-five percent of the incentive will be received by those who worked for 13 to 17 days while the full incentive is reserved for those who reported for work for 18 days or more.

Among those excluded from the grant of special risk allowance are consultants, those paid on piecework basis and student workers and apprentices.

The order will take effect immediately upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Passed on March 24, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Republic Act 11469) authorized the President to provide special risk allowance to public health workers in addition to the hazard pay.

The law also directed the President to provide compensation of P100,000 to public and private health workers who may contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty. A P1-million compensation will be given to health workers who died while fighting the viral outbreak.

The provision on compensation for health workers will have a retroactive application starting February 1, 2020. — RSJ, GMA News