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Cebu City admits, apologizes for delay in contact tracer salaries

According to a report on “24 Oras Weekend,” several contact tracers in Cebu City complained that they had yet to receive their wages for August, September, and October.

For its part, the local government admitted that there was a problem with the payout and apologized.

The LGU said that it had to ask for additional funds as the wage of contact tracers was not included in the yearly budget.

It also said that there were problems with the wrong requirements and reports submitted by some contact tracers.

The LGU said it aims to distribute the salaries on Wednesday, December 2.

COVID-19 benefits

Meanwhile, the Department of Health on Saturday advised health workers to file complaints with the DOH's Complaints Handling Unit at if they had not yet received their benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The filing should include the name of the health facility, the incident, as well as supporting evidence.

“When matters like this come to our attention, we conduct thorough investigations and concerned offices are made to answer to the Secretary and develop solutions to improve the delivery of services and expedite processes,” the DOH said.

“As health workers, many of us in the DOH—including members of our Executive Committee—have experienced working on the ground… which is why we understand the challenges in the frontlines—being overworked, underpaid, demoralized, and in this pandemic, even more vulnerable,” it added.

According to the DOH, only frontliners who reported for duty from March 15 to May 16 may avail of the Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) and Special Risk Allowances (SRA) under the Bayanahinan Law as these were based on the savings of hospitals.

“Considering that other hospitals do not have savings, the DOH had a P51.9 million sub-allotment which was released to 17 DOH-retained hospitals who requested for additional funding,” it said.

Meanwhile, the DOH also said that the P9.2 billion sub-allotment to DOH-retained hospitals, centers for health development, and the Ministry of Health of Bangsamoro for September to December had already been released.

“Again, we are taking this matter very seriously and we welcome any feedback to introduce changes on how we deliver our services,” the DOH said.

“Our people-centered health system does not only respond to the health welfare of the general public but also to the health workers who are with us in attaining this vision and battling this pandemic,” it added. — Joahna Lei Casilao/DVM, GMA News