Press Release
July 18, 2019

Bong Go files bill seeking more benefits, standard salaries for barangay health workers

Barangay health workers (BHWs) may soon receive standard salaries and benefits as Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go filed a bill that mandates their appointment as regular government employees. Under existing laws, BHWs receive "benefits and incentives" only for "voluntary health services rendered to the community."

"Malaki ang role ng BHWs sa ating komunidad at sa pagbigay ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyong medikal sa mga Pilipino lalo na sa malalayong lugar. Dapat lang na mabigyan sila ng tamang sweldo at benepisyo tulad ng ibang mga kawani ng gobyerno," Go explained.

Senate Bill No. 392, which would become the Barangay Health Workers Act of 2019 if passed into law, will entitle BHWs to compensation equivalent to Salary Grade 1, or at least P11,068, based on the current salary grade table of the Philippine government. They will also be entitled to benefits and privileges and security of tenure.

Go said BHWs are in the frontline of the government's fight to keep Filipinos healthy and free from diseases, so it's time that they were taken cared of through proper support and benefits to improve their livelihood.

"Ang mga BHW ang nasa frontline ng ating laban na panatilihing malusog at walang sakit ang ating mga kababayan," Go said. "Napapanahon na din na sila naman ang ating alagaan sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay sa kanila ng tamang suporta at mga benepisyo upang maiangat natin ang kanilang kabuhayan."

SB 392 also mandates the municipal or city mayor to appoint at least three BHWs per barangay. More may be appointed based on the number of households in the barangay and upon the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) as long as the number of BHWs will not exceed 1 percent of the population of the barangay. Existing BHWs will be given preference in the appointment as regular government employees.

The benefits and privileges enumerated in the bill include normal hours of work, overtime pay, rest day, night shift differential, hazard allowance, subsistence allowance, longevity pay, free medical examination, compensation for injuries, leave benefits, retirement pay and right to self-organization. BHWs will also be entitled to GSIS, PhilHealth and PAG-IBIG benefits.

The bill retains some of the benefits and privileges of BHWs under Republic Act 7883 or "The Barangay Health Workers' Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995," such as training, education and career enrichment programs; free legal services by Public Attorney's Office for cases in connection with their official duties; preferential access to loans; and civil service eligibility for those who rendered at least five years of continuous service.

The bill also states that BHWs will not be terminated except for cause provided under existing civil service rules and regulations and only after notice and hearing. BHWs found by the Civil Service Commission to be unjustly dismissed from work will be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and to their back wages with 12 percent interest.

The compensation for BHWs will be charged to the annual General Appropriations Act under the budget of the DOH.

Under the bill, the DOH, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will formulate, launch and institutionalize the BHW training program, assessment, and national certification program.

In addition, the proposed measure also states that only trained and certified BHWs may be appointed to the position. Exemption will be given to active barangay health workers who have served for at least one year.

The bill also defines the role of BHWs wherein they will be responsible for assisting in the delivery of basic and primary health care services; implementation of family planning, feeding and nutrition, immunization programs, disaster response and mitigation, sanitation programs and anti-drug abuse rehabilitation and information campaigns; and establishment of national or local health management information systems. They will also be tasked to assist other medical and health care providers.

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