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Health care workers, celebrities blast DOH for inhumane, cruel timeline on submitting hazard pay requirements

Imagine being asked not to pursue a more lucrative career overseas and serve your country—then being devalued and given a one-day deadline for your well-deserved hazard pay.

The troubles of the Duterte administration with health care workers never stops, even as the President recently realized the importance of COVID-19 testing.

In a move that surprised a lot of health care workers, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said nurses in private hospitals only had one day to hand in their requirements so they can receive their active duty hazard pay and special risk allowance.

In a report published by Inquirer.net, unions of private health care institutions in Metro Manila have asked Duque to extend his arbitrary one-day deadline last Wednesday, as it was “impossible” to prepare the required documents to receive said hazard pay and allowance.

No notice or announcement was given to private hospitals in Metro Manila—the epicenter of COVID-19 in the Philippines—in advance for them to be able to comply with Duque’s one-day deadline.

They also said they only knew of the requirements on Monday, December 7 via a Powerpoint presentation from the Metro Manila Center for Health Development dated December 4. The presentation was reportedly only seen on social media and employee group chats.

Netizens, including well-known journalists and bloggers, slammed Duque for his absurd deadline—and for the government’s apparent refusal to pay health care workers their due.

They called the one-day deadline cruel and inhumane, and also further devalued the sacrifices done by health care workers during the pandemic.

One netizen, who apparently works for a government hospital, said that this might just be a way for Duque and other government officials to pocket the millions of pesos allocated for nurses.

The Department of Health (DOH) moved its deadline to December 11 after a dialogue with representatives from hospital unions and management.

“Acknowledging the limited number of working days left in the year to process the benefits, parties have agreed to move the deadline to the end of the week,” the DOH said in a statement after a dialogue with representatives from hospital unions and management on December 9.


DOH also asked hospitals and other health facilities not to “unduly burden” health care workers should they ask them for additional requirements to speed up the release of funds.

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