DOH needs ₱66.2-B to pay health workers’ allowance

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it needs ₱66.2 billion to pay the health emergency allowance of medical workers.

During a Senate hearing on the DOH’s proposed 2024 budget, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have been appealing to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for an additional budget.

“The total funding requirements for this health emergency allowance for year 2021 until today for all of the health workers eligible is ₱113 billion,” Vergeire said.

“We were only provided by DBM from 2022 until this year a total of ₱46.8 billion," she said. "So, we still need roughly ₱66.2 billion in order for us to fulfill our obligations to our healthcare workers."

Under the DOH’s 2024 proposed budget, ₱19.9 billion has been allocated as additional payment for the health workers’ allowance.

Also present in the hearing were officials of the state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), an attached agency of DOH.

Senators urged PhilHealth to tap social media for information dissemination.

Senator Pia Cayetano raised that social media may be a good platform to share information as many Filipinos use it daily.

Senator Loren Legarda also told PhilHealth officials that information should be translated in major languages across the country, such as Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Ilocano for the people in the grassroots to easily understand.

“Use the political networks. Use even the government channels. Use PCO (Presidential Communications Office) — not government channel, TV channel, but the government media infrastructure,” Legarda said.