The Church People-Workers Solidarity supports the planned mass protest of a group of health workers from private and public hospitals over the failure of the Department of Health (DOH) to release their benefits, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, CWS chairperson, said Tuesday, August 17.
The planned mass protest by the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) is just and legitimate in the midst of the government’s failure to listen to the grievances of the health sector, which includes meal, transportation, and accommodation allowance, Special Risk Allowance and Active Hazard Duty Pay, he said.
He pointed out that state auditors recently released a report on billions of pesos found to have been unused or misused by the Department of Health.
The funds include Php67.3 billion Covid-19 funds that the Commission on Audit (COA) believed resulted to “missed opportunities”, which could have saved thousands of lives, he said.
The amount includes Php11.9 billion worth of unused risk allowance and hazard pay, he added.
This comes after thousands of overworked and underpaid health workers expressed their disgust about unreleased benefits and not receiving their hazard pay on time, Alminaza said.
The COA report also included P1.2 billion unutilized and undelivered equipment, P2.8 billion for infrastructure projects, Php95 million worth of expired, idle drugs and medicines, P24.6 billion unused for public health, Php65.3 million deficiencies in procurement of assets, and around Php557.7 million in “excessive and unnecessary” expenditures, he added.
The COA also reported that some Php3.4 billion in foreign aid for the country’s COVID-19 response efforts was left unused in 2020 because the health department “dilly-dallied in implementing projects,” Alminaza pointed out.*