‘DELAYED ALLOWANCE?’: DOH-6 fast tracks processing, release of COVID-19 stipends

By John Noel E. Herrera

The Department of Health (DOH)-6 said it is hastening the process and release of the One COVID-19 allowance (OCA) to all eligible public and private health workers (HCW) and non-HCWs in health facilities who are involved in the COVID-19 response.

This, after some health workers complained of the delayed release of their allowances.

DOH-6 also clarified that some of the delays in the grant of OCA were due to incomplete documents which were needed for the processing and releasing.

“The DOH WV CHD clarifies that in some instances, there were delays noted in the grant of the OCA due to incompleteness of required documents such as daily time record (DTR), LBP account, certificate of tax exemption, or inconsistency in the CREC, among others,” DOH-6 said in a press statement.

The press release was issued after the Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO) also released a statement explaining that HCWs entitled to the OCA allowance would have to direct their concerns to DOH-6 as the health department is the one that handles the funds.

“The funds are with the (DOH-WV CHD), and not downloaded to the provincial government. The DOH is doing the payroll after completing the requirements, including the daily time records, Landbank accounts where the OCAs will be loaded into,” PHO head Dr. Socorro Quinon said.

Quinon added that OCAs for the months of January and February have been processed by the DOH-WV CHD, and might be released today, Dec 23, 2022.

She also refuted allegations that OCA releases would be lumped in six-month payments, except for the months of January to April 2022.

The DOH-WV CHD, on the other hand, said that they have already posted a 69 percent obligation rate amounting to more than P766.2 million out of the P1.1 billion fund allocated for the region, as of Dec 21, 2022.

“The grant of OCA covers the months of January to June 2022. The rate that eligible HCWs and non-HCWs receive varies depending on their COVID-19 Risk Exposure Classification (CREC) – P9,000 for high risk; P6,000 for moderate risk, and P3,000 for low risk per month,” DOH-6 added in a statement.

Data also indicated that for January 2022, DOH-6 has already provided the OCA to 16,524 out of 29,928 HCWs and non-HCWs in public health facilities; 7,024 out of 27,254 for February; 4,158 out of 19,863 for March; 3,503 out of 17,172 for April; 1,753 out of 18,221 for May, and 509 out of 11,335 individuals for June.

For private health facilities, DOH-6 said that they have already completed the release of allowances from January to April 2022.

The agency also asked for the understanding of the healthcare workers regarding the delays in the release of the allowance.

“As it continues to work overtime to process the One COVID-19 allowance, the DOH-WV CHD appeals for the understanding and assures health care workers of the continuing provision of necessary support and recognition due to them,” DOH-6 added.

OCA is a COVID-19 benefit for public and private HCWs and non-HCWs involved in the pandemic response in all health facilities, including military, hospitals, government-owned and controlled corporations, state university hospitals, and licensed private health facilities.