Bong Go vows to prioritize measures promoting welfare and rights of healthcare workers

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go vowed to continue pushing for measures that will promote and protect the welfare and rights of healthcare workers to stem their exodus from the country.,“Hindi pa po rito nagtatapos ang aking apela sa gobyerno na bigyan ng nararapat na suporta ang ating mga healthcare at non-healthcare workers. Sila ang dahilan kung bakit napakaganda ng ating COVID-19 response,” Go said.,“Tayong mga public servants, tuloy lang dapat ang malasakit sa ating HCWs. Hindi natin makakaya ito kung wala sila. Walang tigil dapat ang serbisyo lalo na sa panahon ng krisis na ito,” Go added.,Go who will continue to head the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, cited the need to elevate the status of the country as a producer of leaders, experts, and authorities in the field of medicine particularly nursing, Go also filed a bill amending the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 in the Senate in 2019.,SB 395, also known as the “Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2019”, seeks to protect and improve the nursing profession by instituting measures that will result in relevant nursing education, humane working conditions, better career prospects and a dignified existence for our nurses.,“Naka-focus masyado ang ibang kasalukuyang programa sa pangingibang bansa ng mga nurses natin. Gusto kong maisama ang community integration and immersion sa kanilang mga curriculum upang mahikayat naman natin silang magtrabaho sa mga pamayanan dito sa Pilipinas,” Go said.,Among the important measures for HCWs passed in the 18th Congress include Republic Act No. 11712 which Go was one of the authors and co-sponsors. The law provides benefits and allowances to public and private healthcare workers during the state of public health emergency.,“Republic Act No. 11712, which I was among those who authored and co-sponsored, covers all public and private medical, allied medical and other personnel who are assigned in hospitals, laboratories and medical or temporary treatment and monitoring facilities,” Go explained.,“Sa ilalim ng batas na ito, mas maraming healthcare workers na ang makakatanggap ng allowance. Hindi na limitado sa mga directly exposed sa COVID-19 patients dahil sabi ko nga, lahat naman ng frontliners na naka-duty sa mga ospital ay maituturing na exposed sa banta ng COVID-19,” he added.,“Kaya dapat masiguro na maimplementa ito ng maayos. Huwag na natin sayangin ang oras. Ibigay ang dapat ibigay na naaayon sa batas,” he reiterated.,Under RA 11712, public and private HCWs are entitled to health emergency allowance for every month of service during a state of public health emergency based on the risk categorization.,For HCWs assigned in low risk areas, they will receive PhP3,000 while PhP6,000 shall be given to those under medium risk areas. Furthermore, those who work in high risk areas will be granted PhP9,000.,In addition, the healthcare workers will be receiving separate compensation if they contract COVID-19 while on duty. For those with mild to moderate symptoms, they will get PhP15,000 while individuals with severe symptoms or under a critical state will be granted PhP100,000.,Meanwhile, for those who unfortunately succumb to the virus, the government will be giving PhP1,000,000 to the families they left behind.,Each frontliner will be entitled to a fixed COVID-19 allowance per month of service applied retroactively from July 2021.,Go has been persistent in advocating for a better and strengthened healthcare system in the country. He had earlier appealed for the provision of allowances for HCWs at the height of the pandemic.,In 2019, the lawmaker was also instrumental in the enactment of Republic Act No. 11466 or the “Salary Standardization Law 5”. The measure gives all civilian government employees, including nurses, increased salaries broken down in tranches.,In the same year, he likewise ensured that enough funding was allotted for the implementation of the 2019 Supreme Court decision that upheld Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, which sets the minimum salary grade of the Nurse I position at SG-15.,