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DOH contractuals in COVID-19 frontlines lament delayed pay, undelivered benefits

Several contractual employees of the Department of Health manning the front lines against COVID-19 have claimed that their salaries have been delayed and the benefits promised them have yet to be delivered.

According to Chino Gaston's report on "24 Oras", they include contractual employees--swabbers and data encoders--at the  the COVID-19 mega testing facility in Taguig.

Aside from taking swab specimens, the front liners working on contracts also verify personal information for contact tracing purposes if those tested turn out positive for COVID-19.

"Matatapos na yung kontrata namin... 'Yung matatanggap dapat namin nung katapusan ng buwan hanggang ngayon wala pa," Mike told GMA News.

"Mag-iisang buwan na uli na wala yung sweldo. Katwiran naman nila ngayon kasi naka lockdown sila," he added.

Mike and ten other contractual employees started to work at the Taguig testing facility on May 12 for a monthly salary of P15,000.

The benefits promised them reportedly have yet to be given.

These include P500-a-day hazard pay, communication allowance and a special risk allowance equivalent to 25 percent of their salary.

"Matatpos ang contract sa August, dalawang beses pa lang kami nabibigyan ng salary na tig-kakalahating buwan. Pagnatapos na ang kontrata namin, papano namin sila hahabulin," Mike said.

COVID-19 encoders of the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Emerging Infectious Diseases at the  Palacio de Manila have also confirmed that their salaries had also been delayed.

"One of the reasons na pumunta kami rito is practicality, para du'n kasi meron kaming mga families," an employee told GMA News.

Sought for comment, the deputy implementer of the national policy against COVID-19 said he would bring up the matter with chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez and IATF chairman Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

"Hindi pupwede yan. Dapat mabibigay yung kanilang compensation at tulong," Secretary Vince Dizon said.

There are an estimated 1,500 contractual encoders, swabbers and utility personnel at testing facilities  which aim to process 30,000 COVID-19 tests a day. -NB, GMA News