THE United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (UPHUP) has officially lodged a complaint with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) for "delayed disbursement of Health Emergency Allowance (HEA)" against several Department of Health (DOH) regional offices, including DOH-Davao, on September 25, 2023.
This action was taken by the union in response to an "enormous" influx of complaints concerning delayed HEA disbursements from healthcare institutions across the nation.
"Data aggregated from these 155 hospitals, encompassing over 53,000 healthcare workers across 16 regions in the country, discloses an alarming average arrears of 19 months, equating to an astonishing sum of nearly 5.8 billion pesos," it said.
PHUP filed complaints against these regional offices for alleged non-compliance with Republic Act No. 11032, also known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, due to the reported delays in releasing reimbursement for healthcare workers' health allowances.
The regional offices named in the complaint include DOH-Davao, as well as those from Ilocos Region, Metro Manila, Calabarzon (Region IV-A), Mimaropa (Region IV-B), Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm). The complaint was based on their alleged failure to provide reasons for the delay in releasing HEAs to health workers, potentially violating RA No. 11032.
The law stipulates that simple transactions must be completed within three working days, while complex transactions must be concluded within seven working days from the date of receipt.
Applications or requests related to matters affecting public health, safety, morals, policy, or highly technical aspects should be processed within no more than 20 working days, as determined by the relevant government agency.
Despite reaching out to these regional offices via email since August 25, 2023, UPHUP reported that they had received no response by September 25. According to DOH's citizen's charter, email inquiries should be answered within one day and 20 minutes.
“This law unequivocally mandates that government offices must adhere to specific processing timeframes for applications or requests, as outlined in Section 9 [of RA No. 11032],” UPHUP said in a statement.
SunStar Davao sought a response from the DOH-Davao regional office, but as of their statement, they claimed not to have received a formal complaint from the union as of yet. ICE