Duterte OKs release of P1.185 billion for special risk pay of health workersHealth workers. Artwork by Ed Lustan


MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill granting monthly risk allowances to health workers ranging from P3,000 to P9,000 depending on risk classification, and compensation for death or sickness, among other benefits.

By a 23-0 vote, the chamber approved Senate Bill No. 2421, or the proposed COVID-19 Benefits and Allowances for Health Workers Act of 2021, sponsored by the committees on finance, health and ways and means.

Under the senators’ proposal, all public and private medical personnel in hospitals and COVID-19 facilities will be entitled to a monthly COVID-19 risk allowance, depending on risk.

Those with “low risk exposure,” meaning they perform administrative duties, in nonpublic areas, or away from other staff and patients, will receive P3,000 per month.

Those with “medium risk exposure,” or provide direct physical care to patients who are not suspected of having COVID-19 or work in busy staff work areas, will receive P6,000 per month.

Those with “high risk exposure,” or directly care for COVID-19 patients or handle specimens from known or suspected COVID-19 patients, will receive P9,000 per month.

Compensation will also be given to health workers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty, resulting in their death or sickness.

Death will entitle the heirs to P1 million, while severe or critical cases will receive P100,000. Health workers with mild or moderate symptoms will get P15,000.

The bill applies retroactively from July 1 onward and will remain in effect for the duration of the national public health emergency.

The House of Representatives passed its own version of the bill with the same compensation package.

Voting 202-0, the House approved on third and final reading on Monday House Bill No. 10701, which seeks to grant continuing allowances and benefits to all health workers during a state of public health emergency.