A HEAD of the barangay health workers (BHW) groups called the proposed resolution of adjusting the mandatory age retirement from 60 to 65 years old a huge help of addressing the lack of help workers in the community.
“Dako ni siya og tabang. Kulang baya ang BHW diria sa siyudad. Maglisod man gani mi og pangita og pangita og additional BHW (The proposed amendment is of big help. We are really short of BHWs here in the city. We are hardly struggling for additional power),” HW Davao City president Bernadith Lutang told reporters on Tuesday, September 3, at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte proposed an amendment extending the retirement age of BHWs after finding no legal basis for the early termination.
At present, the resolution was approved on second recording last Tuesday by the 19th City Council, and has yet to be approved on third and final reading.
Lutang, who has been a BHW for 26 years, said she is one of those more than 20 BHWs who will be spared from early retirement once the resolution will be passed this year.
“Lisod pud nga mapugos mi og retire despite gusto pa mi muserbisyo. Maka-attest ko nga daghan gihapong baskog nga BHWs despite naa na sila sa 60 years (It is difficult to force someone to retire despite having the capacity to serve. I could attest that there are still a lot of BHWs who are capable to serve despite being at the age of 60),” she said.
She said there are currently 1,140 BHWs scattered all over 182 barangays in the city.
Although she said the number of pending retirees may not have reached at least one percent, she said it is still a huge loss considering the city is in need of more BHWs.
According to Department of Health (DOH), BHWs are persons who have undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily render primary health care services in the community.
Lutang also said they are the ones who assist the District Health Officer in the implementation of all health programs funded by the government.
She added having BHWs ages 50 and above are advantageous because “they are more devoted as compared to younger ones who are continuously seeking for greener pastures”. She added they are highly experienced in the field.
Villafuerte said BHWs have been requesting her to amend the forced retirement and to synchronize it with the mandatory age retirement mandated by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
“This is really important because they we need more health workers. There are health workers who are still fit enough to serve despite turning 60 this year,” she added.
The councilor said her proposed amendment was also requested by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, as part of standardizing the benefits of all city barangay health workers (BHWs).
Villafuerte said they will impose the Republic Act 7883 or the Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995 for BHWs, which includes retention of office even if the administration changes, hazard allowances, subsistence allowance, training and education by the DOH, 2nd grade level Civil Service eligibility, free legal services, and preferential access to loans.
The councilor, however, said the amount for the hazard allowances has yet to be determined by the local government.
“We are happy that no one is opposing. This has been the wish of the mayor,” Villafuerte added. (RGL)