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'Duque is a liar': Health worker groups slam DOH's lack in giving benefits

'Duque is a liar': Health worker groups slam DOH's lack in giving benefits

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and its Secretary Francisco Duque III are liars, health workers claimed on Monday as they criticized the department’s failure to give them their benefits.

“Kaya ko sinasabi na sinungaling… Nagpapahayag sila sa media na ang mga health workers sa private sector ay nabigyan ng sinasabi ninyong benepisyo. Ano nga po ‘yung benepisyo? Hindi nga po natatanggap ‘yung nakapaloob dun sa DOH Administrative Order No. 2020-0054,” Jao Clumia, president of St. Luke’s Medical Center Employees Association said in a virtual press conference.

(I’m saying that they are liars because… they tell the media that private health workers were given benefits. What benefits? They haven’t received those included under DOH Administrative Order No. 2020-0054.)

Clumia added that medical workers have not received their benefits such as meals, accommodation, and transportation.

Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) Secretary-General Benjamin Santos also shared the same sentiment about the health department, particularly regarding Duque.

He noted that Duque repeatedly said that there was nothing else he could do, but it was recently reported by

“Tinatanong kasi kung sinungaling si Secretary Duque, sinungaling po kasi marami po kaming pag-uusap sa usapin po ng mga benepisyo ng health workers. Ang lagi niyang sinasabi ay wala siyang magagawa sapagkat isa lamang siya sa ahensya ng gobyerno na tumutugon dito. Subalit ngayon, malalaman pala natin na ang karamihan at bilyong-bilyong pondo ng DOH ay misused, unused, at unutilized,” Santos explained.

(We were asked if Secretary Duque is a liar, yes he is because we have a lot of dialogues on health workers’ benefits. He always says that he could not do anything else as he is just one among the government agencies that respond to this. But now, we learned that most and billions of DOH funds are misused, unused, and unutilized.)

The health workers also expressed their anger and dismay with Duque and called for the secretary to resign from his post.

“Ang mas nakakagalit sa mga health workers ay kasama sa pondong ito ay ang P11.9 billion na unused o hindi nagamit na pondo na dapat ay para sa special risk allowance hazard pay ng mga health workers. Nilinlang kami ng Department of Health dahil laging bukambibig nito na wala na silang pondo kaya hindi nila maibigay ang aming kahilingan at mga nararapat na mga benepisyo,” AHW National President Robert Mendoza said.

(What angers health workers more is the fact that there is a P11.9 billion unused fund, supposed to be for the special risk allowance hazard pay. The Department of Health tricked us as they always say they do not have funds that’s why they cannot provide our benefits.)

Filipino Nurses United Secretary-General Jocelyn Andamo for her part said that the DOH and the national government’s COVID-19 response were lacking and failures.

The health workers likewise appealed for increased salary, mass hiring of health workers, free COVID-19 tests, and accountability to those involved in the DOH anomaly.

INQUIRER.net is trying to get the side of the DOH but it has yet to respond as of posting time.

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