Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo)

Malacañang appealed to the country’s nurses and other healthcare workers not to resign, assuring they will soon receive their special risk allowance (SRA) as early as next week.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday, August 23, that President Rodrigo Duterte himself gave the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) at least “10 days” to release funds for the distribution of healthcare workers’ benefits.

“Nag-order naman po ang Presidente na within 10 days from last Friday ay kinakailangan maibigay na itong mga special risk allowance (The President already ordered to release the special risk allowance within 10 days from last Friday),” he said in a press conference in SM City San Mateo.

Roque warned that mass resignations would also spell trouble for them, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic-related job losses.

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He said the government may also have difficulty looking for additional sources of funding to compensate them.

“Kapag nag-resign po sila, dadami iyong hanay na walang trabaho sa panahon ng pandemya, mas lalala po ang problema natin kung mas maraming walang trabaho sa panahon ng pandemya at wala naman po tayong karagdagang ayuda ng maibibigay (If they resign, there will be more people without jobs in the time of the pandemic, our problem will worsen if there are more jobless individuals and we do not have additional cash aid to give),” he added.

In a pre-recorded Talk to the People aired on Saturday, Duterte directed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to use its available funds and look for other sources of funding to compensate healthcare workers.

“I am committed to leading our nation out of this pandemic, with the help of front-line institutions so that we can be victorious…Secretary Duque, bayaran mo (pay [the medical front-liners]). Use whatever money there is. Bayaran mo ‘yung hinihingi ng mga nurses (Give what the nurses are asking for), both in government and those outside of government volunteers,” Duterte said.

He also gave the DBM at least “10 days” to release the funds for the distribution of benefits to medical front-liners.

“Itong naghawak ng pera, DBM, I’m giving you 10 days [to release the money]. Ibigay mo yung pera kay Secretary Duque tapos bayaran niya (Give the money to Secretary Duque so he can pay the health workers’ benefits),” he added.

The Filipino Nurses United (FNU) earlier said healthcare workers might resort to mass resignation as part of an impending protest if their SRAs will not be released by September 1.

FNU President Maristela Abenojar said some nurses are mulling mass resignation due to the delayed release of their additional pay which they have been waiting for more than a year now since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. (PNA)

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