CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña terminated the services of all barangay health workers (BHW) who are receiving salary or honorarium from the City Government.
The order affects some 540 BHWs who are trained to provide primary health care services in the barangays, according to Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president and ex-officio City Councilor Philip Zafra.
As of yesterday, two barangay captains already said that they will defy the mayor’s order, saying that Osmeña doesn’t have the authority to terminate the services of workers appointed by the barangay.
“All barangay health workers who are receiving salary and/or honorarium from the city government are terminated from service effective today. All officers in charge of the concerned departments and/or agencies are hereby directed to implement this order immediately,” Osmeña’s memorandum dated July 4, 206 read.
It was received by the barangays yesterday.
The one-page memorandum did not state the reason why the BHWs’ services were terminated.
But in an earlier press conference, he said the City will be able to help more families if it pays out-of-school youths to do some of the tasks of BHWs. Besides, he said, some BHWs do not do anything but sit in the barangay hall.
The mayor wants to replace them with out-of-school youths who will also be tasked to deliver maintenance medicines to those who need it.
In an interview, Tisa Barangay Captain Philip Zafra said the termination of the BHWs will affect the delivery of health services in their respective villages.
He said they are responsible in providing immunization and profiling of children in the sitios. They are also tasked to monitor and help malnourished kids, among many others.
Zafra believes the move of Osmeña is just another way of running after the barangays and the barangay captains, most of whom are allied with Team Rama headed by former mayor Michael Rama.
“We have to be circumspect. Just because the barangay captain is from the opposition, he would also go after the barangay because in that sense, the services will be paralyzed. We are here to serve, but they are making it difficult for us,” he said.
Zafra said he won’t be surprised if Osmeña’s next move is to fire the barangay environmental officers or the tanods and members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa.
He said he believes that Osmeña doesn’t have the authority to terminate the services of the BHWs because they were appointed by the barangay.
Zafra said that Tisa’s 20 BHWs will stay despite the memorandum.
What will change, he said, is that they will no longer receive a counterpart honorarium from the City amounting to P5,000 per month. It is on top of the honorarium given by the barangay, the amount of which depends on the income of the village.
Zafra said his barangay pays the BHWs P1,000 per month.
“Considering there is a memorandum terminating their services, we are looking at increasing their honorarium from the barangay so we can also help them,” he said.
Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman shares Zafra’s sentiments.
“Wa pa siguro nalipay si Tomas sa iyang pagpanggukod sa mga barangay. Kung asa siya malipay atong supportaan (He’s still not happy with what he’s already done to the barangays not allied with him, so whatever makes him happy, we’ll support him),” he said yesterday.
Ayuman said that Apas’ BHWs, who receive P2,500 from the barangay, will continue to report to work.
However, they will have to reduce their working days to just three days per week until the barangay is able to find additional funds to increase their salary.