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Press Release - [TRANSCRIPT] Q&A of Senator Risa Hontiveros and DOH Secretary Herbosa during the CA hearing

Senator Risa Hontiveros (SRH): One of the SONA commitments of the President is to release the long overdue allowances and the benefits of healthcare workers who worked at the height of COVID-19.

Mr. Secretary, ang akin pong opisina ay patuloy din na nakatatanggap ng reklamo patungkol sa health emergency allowance, yung HEA. Some reports have alleged that government owes our HCWs around P26 billion for unpaid allowances and benefits.

Narinig ko po yung sinabi ni Secretary kanina na may na-release na P4 na bilyon. So medyo malayo pa yung pupunuin para makumpleto yung sinasabing P26 billion.

So maaari po bang itanong Mr. Secretary, ilang claims pa o anong halaga pa ng mga claims that remain unsettled? Magkano po yun? At ano yung timetable para i-settle yung remaining claims?

Secretary Herbosa: Thank you Ma'am Chair. Mr. Chair, ang GAA for 2022, na-disburse na nila is P22 billion para sa health emergency allowance. Yung sinasabi kong P4 billion is for the 2023 General Appropriations Act. Ang na-allocate doon was P27 billion and nagre-release na tayo unti-unti as the Department of Budget and Management releases this to us.

So ang disbursement yun based on what is given, almost 90.9% disbursed na yung unang releases. So ang total claims na na-grant na po ay P8,040,980. So for the total, parang ang total po ay P72 billion po ang total talaga na dapat bayaran. Ang unprogrammed po ay P52 billion. So for this year, sa GAA, 19 ang naka-program at 52 yung mga nasa unprogrammed

So we are awaiting release. I have requested DBM to also release so that our healthcare workers will be given their due benefits, Madam Chair.

SRH: Salamat Mr. Secretary. So klaruhin ko lang para kung malinaw sa akin, malinaw din po sa mga healthcare workers na nakikinig sa atin. So sabi niyo po, 2022, yung nasa GAA was P22 billion. PYung 22B po ba yun para sa 2022, covered na po lahat ng obligation natin sa mga healthcare workers para sa taong iyon?

Secretary Herbosa: Hindi pa ma'am. Kasi we are asking 25. Ang current request ko po ay P25.96 billion. This is for the November 29 kami sumulat sa DBM to release na this remainder para mabigay sa ating healthcare workers, Madam Chair.

SRH: Okay. Salamat