Duterte signs law granting frontliners better pay plan
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure granting the mandatory continuing benefits to public and private healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies of a national scale.
Duterte signed Republic Act 11712, or the Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers Act, on April 27, 2022.
The law grants a monthly health emergency allowance ranging from P3,000 to P9,000 depending on the “risk exposure categorization” of the frontliners. It also provides for compensation for sickness or death, among other benefits.
Also covered are frontliners who are non-healthcare workers. These include workers rendering medical, allied medical, administrative, technical, and support services in hospitals, health facilities, laboratories, medical or temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, and vaccination sites.
The benefits granted by RA 11712 will have a retroactive application from July 1, 2021.
Based on the new law, a public health emergency is an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition of a national scale.
The new law also covers healthcare and non-healthcare workers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty.
In case of death, the heirs of the covered individuals will receive P1 million.
Workers who get sick and will be treated as severe or critical cases will receive P100,000, while mild and moderate cases shall be provided with P15,000.
The compensation shall be given to the beneficiaries within three months after confinement or death and upon submitting complete requirements.
Under the law, those deployed in “low risk areas” will receive at least P3,000, those in “minimum risk areas” will get at least P6,000, and those in “high risk areas” will be given at least P9,000.
Subject to the President’s approval and in consultation with the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Health DOH may increase the amounts of the HEA, taking into consideration the cost of necessary expenses incurred by health care and non-healthcare workers in rendering services at the time of public emergency.
Full PhilHealth coverage will be granted to hospitalized health workers due to COVID-19.
For future national public health emergencies, PhilHealth coverage for direct health care costs of those admitted to hospital will be subject to fund availability and the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) assessment and recommendation.
Regular testing of health and non-health workers, as often as necessary, will be covered by PhilHealth.
An ad hoc grievance board will also be created in the DOH regional offices to receive, investigate, adjudicate, and recommend actions to arrive at a settlement of complaints related to the failure of granting the benefits.
The grievance board will be composed of a grievance officer from the DOH, a representative from the health professional organizations, and an arbitration officer from the Department of Labor and Employment exercising jurisdiction where the concerned hospital is located.
The necessary funding for the implementation of RA 11712 will be charged against the available appropriations of the DOH and any other sources that may be identified by the DBM.