Puerto Princesa City councilors during their regular session.|| File photo

The City Council is seeking to grant a Special Risk Allowance (SRA) to Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients during the state of national emergency.

Councilor Elgin Damasco, who filed proposed SDR No. 244-2021 on Monday, August 9, said BHWs should be granted SRAs since they are also “considered frontliners”.

He claims they are entitled to the same benefits as other health professionals since the government’s COVID-19 initiatives would fail if it weren’t for their active participation as frontline workers.

“Para sa inyo makatarungan lamang na mabigyan din kayo ng Special Risk Allowance katulad ng ibang health frontliners natin dahil frontliners din kayo na maituturing. Hindi magtatagumpay ang ating management sa Covid kung wala ang mga BHWs,” Damasco said.

Their sole desire, according to Helma Kuros, a barangay health worker, is for their incentives to be increased like the BHWs in other provinces.

Kuros said the other BHWs received their SRAs, but they did not receive anything from Puerto Princesa.

“Ang kahilingan lang po sana namin madagdagan ‘yong incentive namin katulad noong sa ibang provinces. Nakatanggap po sila pero kami po na taga-Puerto Princesa ay wala kaming natanggap na SRA,” Kuros said.

“Kami ang [nag]-survey noong March 7 sa lahat ng barangay namin tapos kami rin ang nagmo-monitor ng lahat ng binibigay ng IMT o sa facility at kami rin po ang naghahatid ng mga gamot, pagkain, or nagche-check ng mga temperature kung kami ang kailangan,” she added.

Kuros said majority of people say they are “just volunteers” who have no right to complain about what they’re receiving. But the highest amount they’ve ever gotten is P3,400 that only applies to individuals who have worked for 25 years.

“Ang lagi nilang sinasabi kami ay volunteer lang at wala raw kaming karapatan mag-reklamo kung ano lang daw ang matatanggap namin ‘yong lang daw. Ang pinaka mataas na tinatanggap namin ay P3,400 po,” Kuros said.

The policy stipulates that the local government unit (LGU) may contribute if funds or money are available, according to Councilor Roy Ventura.

“Hindi kayo naisama sa SRA dahil nakasaad din sa policy na kung available o kung mayroong pondo ang LGU, pupuwedeng magbigay. Pero ang alam ko, mayroon nang binigay na pondo sa DOH mismo para sa SRA. Hindi ko lang alam kung nai-download na sa pamahalaang panlungsod,” Ventura said.

Damasco reiterated that public health workers are those who are either civilian employees occupying regular, contractual, or casual positions whether full or part-time or workers engaged through contract of services or job order including the duly accredited registered barangay health workers who are assigned to hospitals, laboratories, or medical and quarantine facilities.

“Kasama po ang mga barangay health workers na dapat mabigyan ng pondo either from the national government or pondo mula sa local government,” Damasco said.

The resolution has now been forwarded to the committees on appropriation and health for further discussion.