President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to look for funding sources to tap additional medical frontliners that will help in the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
This, as healthcare workers bewailed the absence of budget allocations to compensate for the “challenges” they have encountered in saving the lives of COVID-19 patients.
Kilusang Kontra Covid (KilKovid) president Anthony Leachon denounced the delay in the distribution of the health workers’ benefits.
“We condemn any misappropriation of any funds that could have alleviated their sufferings. We decry any form of abuse, verbal or otherwise, coming from anyone, but most especially those coming from government officials who owe to these health workers the survival of this nation.”
In a meeting at Malacañan Palace Wednesday night, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told Duterte that hospitals were struggling in attending to the needs of COVID-19 patients as they were currently facing manpower shortage.
“We really need to address this because the complaint of all hospitals is they lack doctors, nurses and other healthcare-related workers,” Galvez said in Tagalog.
Duterte said he would exert all efforts to hire more healthcare workers.
“We will see what we can do. We will try to look for the money to have more recruits joining this fight against COVID,” the President said.
Duterte also said a “good” salary could persuade medical personnel to join the continuing battle against COVID-19.
“The pay is good. Perhaps, we can convince more people to join us in this fight because I think the lure of a good salary is there. It is higher now,” he said.
Leacho, for his part, said frontliners were not only physically exhausted, but were mentally and emotionally distressed as well.
“They need all the love, care, and respect from each and every one of us, and most especially our country’s leaders, without any exception,” he said.
The health workers assailed the Duterte government for its “zero allocation” for their COVID-19 benefits such as Special Risk Allowance, Actual Hazard Duty Pay and Meals, Accommodation, Transportation allowance as well as COVID-19 compensation for the year 2022 aside from the delays in their compensations.