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SRA for medical frontliners released in 10 days —DBM

The special risk allowances (SRA) of medical frontliners will be released within 10 days after already being delayed for months, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Monday.

According to DBM Officer-in-Charge Tina Rose Marie Canda, the DBM is now looking for funding sources for the SRA that a number of healthcare workers have yet to receive.

“The bureau in charge is currently reviewing all the funding sources that could be tapped,” Canda said in a mobile message.

This came after President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend ordered both the DBM and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to pay the already delayed allowances to frontliners within 10 days.

“Yes, it will be met,” Canda said, but noted that an amount for the allowances has yet to be determined, pending the final figures from the Department of Health (DOH).

One of the possible sources of the SRA, she said, is the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund for the health workers in government, while other sources are being eyed for those in the private sector.

Health workers’ groups have been up in arms against the non-release of the SRA and the removal of other benefits such as meal and transportation allowances even as they continue to serve in the country’s battle against COVID-19.

The issue hit fever pitch after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged “deficiencies” in the use of the DOH's P67.32-billion COVID-19 funds, including P11.89 billion which remained unobligated as of December 31, 2020.

The DBM also said it released some P9.02 billion in June as part of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, but portions of these were unused and were reverted back to the Bureau of the Treasury. These can no longer be availed upon expiry of the law in June 30, 2021.  —KBK, GMA News