DC health chief says RA 7305's provision on hazard pay unfair

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 December) — A health official in this city said the provision on hazard pay under Republic Act 7305, or the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers, is unfair to medical doctors and nurses who are also exposed to hazards in the field.

Section 21 of the Magna Carta provides for hazard allowance for public health workers in hospitals, sanitaria, rural health units, main centers, health infirmaries and barangay health stations. The amount varies from five percent of the total salary for health workers with salary grades of 20 and above to 25 percent for health workers with salary grades of 19 and below.

Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, city health officer, said that most health workers at the City Health Office receiving salary grades of 19 and below are mostly confined to office works.

“Although health workers receiving salary grades of 19 and below also need the hazard pay, the law seems unfair to doctors and nurses in the salary grades of 20 and up because they are also exposed to risks,” she said.

“Even medical technologists are not given the commensurate pay,” she added.

She said the hazard pay for health workers under RA 7305 made up the bulk of the increase in the department’s budget for field projects next year.

The budget for field projects is included in the department’s P127.68-million budget for maintenance and operating expenses for next year, a 12.9-percent increase from the P113.03-million budget this year.

City Health Office will mobilize 268 health workers, which include nurses, medical doctors and barangay health workers for the city’s various field projects next year, among them, the continued fight against dengue, malaria, schistozomiasis, pelariasis and other tropical diseases.

Villafuerte said that under the latest administrative order they received from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), nurses and doctors are only paid a hazard pay of P4,989.75 while other health workers with the salary grades of 19 and below receive about P6,000.

“Based on the administrative order issued by the Department of Budget and Management, health workers with salary grades of 20 and above, they’re given a hazard pay of P4,989.75, which means na mas maliit ang (a lower) hazard pay sa mas mataas na (for those in high) position,” she said during the marathon hearing for next year’s city health budget.

“Although those with higher salary grades are also exposed to hazard,” said Villafuerte.

The City Health Office proposed a P1.6-million budget for the prevention and control of tropical diseases next year. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)