DBM releases P91.3B for healthcare workers' emergency benefits, allowances

DBM releases P91.3B for healthcare workers' emergency benefits, allowances
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THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of P91.283 billion from 2021 to 2024 for the Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances (Pheba) for all healthcare workers, both in public and private hospitals.

In a statement on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the DBM said that the funds had been released to the Department of Health (DOH), designated as the implementing agency for distributing mandatory emergency benefits and allowances to the country’s healthcare workers.

It said P12.1 billion were released in 2021, P28 billion in 2022, P31.1 billion in 2023 and P19.962 billion so far for 2024.

The DBM said the funds include P73.26 billion for Health Emergency Allowance (HEA)/One Covid-19 Allowance (OCA), P12.90 billion for Special Risk Allowance (SRA), P3.65 billion for Covid-19 Sickness and Death Compensation, and P1.4 billion for other benefits, such as meal, accommodation, and transportation allowance.

However, the agency said that based on the DOH report, out of the said amount, it was able to release only a total of P76 billion to pay for 8,549,207 claims from July 1, 2021, to July 20, 2023.

“In a meeting held earlier this year between the DBM and the DOH, it was agreed that there is a need for the DOH to urgently finalize the computation of the HEA claims in arrears to enable the DBM to determine if additional funding requirements are necessary despite the cumulatively released Pheba allocations for our healthcare and non-healthcare workers,” the DBM said.

DBM suggested that the DOH develop a HEA mapping that will capture and present all Pheba claims and payments by Region/Health Facilities for the period covered by the benefit.

“The information gathered from the HEA mapping shall be used in expediting final determination of the amount of deficiency to cover the full settlement of arrears. The DBM likewise recommended that the said record be published on the DOH website for transparency to all claimants and stakeholders alike,” it said.

“The DOH committed to submit the aforementioned HEA mapping with the final amount of computed Pheba deficiencies not later than March this year, subject to the DBM’s validation based on submitted documents and the amounts reflected in the Health Emergency Allowance Processing System,” it added.

In a letter to DBM, Health Undersecretary Ma. Carolina Vidal-Taiño said they are yet to complete the HEA mapping where both the released funds and the remaining funds required for the aforementioned grant will be outlined. (SunStar Philippines)


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