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Solon appeals for additional compensation for barangay health workers during coronavirus emergency

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

A neophyte party-list lawmaker has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to include barangay health workers among the frontliners covered by the COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance through the emergency powers granted to him by Congress.

In her letter dated March 27, BHW Party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co appealed for other compensation barangay health workers “who may contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty or who may die while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the community health frontliners would not be covered by the compensation under the Bayanihan Act 2020 since the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (RA 7305) does not include barangay health workers “for the reason that there are volunteers.”

Co further explained that under Administrative Order No. 26, barangay health workers being entitled to hazard pay is “not clear because they are volunteers, not LGU (local government unit) employees.”

Elaborating on the contents of her letter, Co asked the Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado to clarify if Local Budget Circular No. 124 issued last March 26 has provisions which would authorize local governments to augment community health workers’ honoraria and allowances.

If LBC No. 124 does not, then Co is requesting the DBM “to urgently include barangay health workers’ compensation augmentation through the Local Government Support Fund.”

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