The provincial board is set to probe the delay in the release of the honoraria of barangay health workers (BHWs) serving in the frontlines of the fight against coronavirus disease in Palawan.

Board member Leoncio Ola, chairperson of the appropriations committee in the Palawan provincial board, said they wants to speed up the release of the delayed honoraria.

The board is expected to summon BHW focal persons to its regular session.

He also said that they will ask the local finance committee to help resolve the matter.

“Kapag hindi ito inaasikaso, it will remain as a problem lalo na sila ay mga frontliners. Gusto natin malaman kung ano na ang nangyari because I was tasked by the committee to look for the budget at ang Supplemental Budgets No. 3 and 4 ay approved na. Makikipag-usap tayo sa local finance committee para magawaan ng paraan. Kung hindi pa ito aasikasuhin ay baka mas tumagal,” Ola said.

Recently, board member Cherry Pie Acosta said that barangay health workers expressed expressed concern if the provincial government would still release the P600 monthly or P7,200 total incentives they are supposed to receive from January to December 2019.

“There was a sentiment being brought out by the community health workers, [this is] for the immediate release of their incentives from the provincial government in the amount of P600 per month na from January to December 2019,” she said.

Acosta also asked the board to find out why the release of the BHW incentives was delayed for a year.

“Gusto sana natin malaman kung bakit hanggang ngayon ay delayed pa rin ang release ng mga incentives ng mga community health volunteers natin. Nagtataka tayo bakit it’s taking so long na i-process ang mga voucher, isang taon na ang nakalipas at ngayon 2020 na,” she said.

“These BHWs are frontliners who extend their services sa kinakaharap natin na [krisis] sa COVID-19. Nagde-deliver sila ng mga relief packs, they are facing risks dahil sa ginagawa nila. It is the time to look out for their welfare through the immediate release of the incentives for one year, siguro matutuwa sila kapag na-release natin. Malaking tulong ito sa kanila,” she said.

Acosta said the provincial government recently released P200,000 barangay aid which should be able to help the BHWs in receiving their incentives.

She said the BHWs are also suffering from the effects of the pandemic, the least that could be done to help them is to release their incentives.

“Nasa ECQ po tayo for one month how much more ang mga BHW na frontliners, isang taon na walnag suweldo. Ayaw natin na nagta-trabaho sila ng walang bayad. Gusto natin malaman kung bakit nakabinbin pa ito hanggang ngayon,” she added.

Board member Eduardo Modesto Rodriguez, on the other hand, said there might be a reason why the release was delayed.

He said the BHW focal persons are the best source of explanation why the honoraria have been delayed for a year.

Provincial information officer Winston Arzaga said the distribution of incentives is now being done using automated teller machines (ATMs). However, there are areas in Palawan that do not have access to ATM.

“Nagka-problema dyan kasi hindi lahat ng barangay o lugar ay may access sa ATM, doon na kasi nilalagay ang incentives nila kaya medyo nagka-problema tayo,” Arzaga said.

Arzaga added that they have already released the salaries of the child development workers for the period of July to December 2019.

“Sunod-sunod na ‘yan. Nagka-problema lang, pero on process na lahat ‘yan,” he added.