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DBM releases P7.92B for COVID-19 allowance of healthcare workers and staff

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday said it has released P7.92 billion for the allowance of healthcare workers and other personnel involved in the COVID-19 response.

According to the DBM, the latest release to the Department of Health (DOH) will cover the One COVID-19 Allowance (OCA) of 526,727 public and private healthcare workers and non-HCWs.

This includes P4.5 billion for the benefits of 100,313 plantilla workers of the DOH in public hospitals, offices, and rehabilitation centers including those in military and state university hospitals.

The remaining P3.42 billion will be for 426,414 health workers who are stationed in local government units and private health facilities, among others.

Health workers identified as being at high risk will be given P9,000 a month, those at medium risk will get P6,000, and those at low risk will receive P3,000.

“The benefit shall be given in full amount provided that the health professional physically reports to work for at least 96 hours per month, otherwise the benefit shall be prorated,” the DBM said.

To recall, a number of healthcare workers in 2021 reported that they have yet to receive allowances for the services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with some rallying and protesting at the DOH office.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in August 2021 said the department would look into savings that it could realign for risk allowances, given that billions of the department’s budget for the same provision were unobligated.

State auditors earlier flagged “deficiencies” in the use of P67.32 billion worth of COVID-19 funds, including P11.89 billion which remained unobligated as of December 31, 2020, and reverted back to the Bureau of the Treasury. — VBL, GMA News