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PHAPI recommends Dr. Ted Herbosa as next DOH secretary

The Private Hospitals Association Philippines (PHAPI) on Thursday recommended National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 adviser Dr. Teodoro "Ted" Herbosa as the next secretary of the Department of Health (DOH).

At the Laging Handa briefing, PHAPI president Dr. Jose de Grano said different hospital societies, even the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), have also endorsed Herbosa as the next DOH chief.

“Sa amin pong mga hanay mayroon pong mga hospitals, different societies, even the PMA, mayroon po kaming nirerecommend and hopefully siya po ang tanggapin ni President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., gawin siyang secretary of Health,” De Grano said.

(There are hospitals, different societies, even the PMA, we recommend and hopefully President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will accept him as the next Health secretary.)

“Pero of course the final decision ay sa kanila pa rin po. At 'yun po ang aming nirerecommend ay si Dr. Ted Herbosa po,” he added.

(But of course, the final decision is still up to them. And we recommend Dr. Ted Herbosa.)

Meanwhile, the Philippine Orthopaedic Association (POA) has endorsed its former president Dr. Jose Pujalte to be the next Health secretary, saying the latter led POA through challenges and turmoil during his term.

De Grano said they also expect that the next Health secretary would be open to help doctors, hospitals, and different healthcare facilities.

Marcos has yet to announce the next DOH secretary.

Aside from being a special adviser of the (NTF) COVID-19, Herbosa was recently appointed as member of the board of PhilHealth before he accepted the post as chairman, Emergency Medicine at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

COVID allowance for healthcare workers

Meanwhile, De Grano said the majority of the private hospitals have not yet received their One COVID-19 Allowance (OCA).

“Yun nga po, actually 'yun din ang kinakalungkot ng ating mga healthcare workers. Lagi pong sinasabi ng DOH okay na-release na namin, sabi ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) narelease na 'yung P7.9 billion pero nasaan na ‘yan?” the PHAPI president stressed.

(That is actually what our healthcare workers are sad about. The DOH said they have released it, the DBM said that the P7.9 billion has been released but where is it?)

“Tinatanong po namin 'yung ibang private hospitals na miyembro at 'yung iba po nakakareceive pero majority po ng aming mga private hospitals hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin nakakareceive nitong OCA, 'yung SRA (special risk allowances) previously last year meron pa rin pong iba na hindi pa kumpleto ang nareceive nila pero for this year 2022 na OCA talaga pong halos majority po ng aming hospitals hindi pa narereceive,” he said.

(We are asking other private hospitals which are our members, some are receiving it but majority of our private hospitals have yet to receive the OCA until. On SRA, there are still others that have yet to receive the full amount. But for this year’s OCA, almost majority of our hospitals have not yet received it.)

The DBM earlier said it has released P7.92 billion for the allowance of healthcare workers and other personnel involved in the COVID-19 response.

In 2021, a number of healthcare workers reported that they have yet to receive allowances for the services rendered amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 DOH'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.

De Grano said they are coordinating with the DOH for the release of the COVID-19 allowance for healthcare workers.

“Tuloy tuloy naman po ang pakikipag-usap especially nung mga HR ng mga different hospitals ang sinasabi lang po sa amin maghintay-hintay po. Well, 'yun naman ang ginagawa namin kasi sabi nila may kakulangan din daw ng iba ng mga documentary requirements pero ang alam ko nasubmit na po nila 'yan lahat,” he explained.

(We are continuously coordinating with them, especially the HRs of the different hospitals. They are telling us to wait, so we are waiting. They said that there is a lack of other documentary requirements but I think they already submitted it.)

“We are just waiting, sabi nga po ng DBM na-release na noon pa, ang sinasabi out of P7.9 billion supposedly ay parang P86 million pa lang po ang narerelease ng DOH,” he added.

In a statement, the DOH welcomed the coordination of the hospitals including members of PHAPI for the fast distribution of OCA to healthcare workers.

“Funds for OCA for January to February 2022 have already been downloaded to the Centers for Health Development (CHDs),” the department said.

“For the DOH CHD to transfer funds to private hospitals, rules and regulations require a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and full accounting or liquidation of any funds previously given,” it added.

“DOH-CHDs welcome the submission of names of the private hospitals encountering difficulties so that the issues can be addressed immediately,” it further said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed into law a measure mandating continuous benefits to all healthcare workers in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic and other future public health emergencies.—AOL, GMA News