All government workers who physically report for work during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine will be entitled to a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) hazard pay under an administrative order (AO) issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Administrative Order 26, signed on March 23, grants a Covid-19 hazard pay worth at the rate of PHP500 per day to a civil servant who physically reports for work. The grant of the hazard pay is effective starting March 17.
In signing the AO, Executive Salvador Medialdea recognized that government and employees and workers whose services are urgently necessary and who physically report for work during the quarantine period are inevitably exposed to health risks and hazards.
The government workers entitled to hazard pay are those who occupy regular, contractual or casual positions, or are engaged through contract of service (COS), job order (JO) in national government agencies (NGAs), including state universities and colleges (SUCs) and government owned or-controlled corporations (GOCCs).
For NGAs, including SUCs, the hazard pay will be charged against their own funds without the need for prior authority from the Department of Budget and Management.
For GOCCs, the amount required will be charged against their budget and, in case they lack sufficient funds, they may grant a lower but uniform rate for all qualified personnel.
Public health workers, public social workers, science and technology personnel and military and uniformed personnel may be entitled to the Covid-19 hazard pay if it is higher than their current hazard pay under existing laws.
Employees in the Senate, House of Representatives, the Judiciary, Office of the Ombudsman and other independent constitutional bodies who physically report are also qualified.
The grant of Covid-19 hazard pay to local government unit (LGU) employees and local water district (LWD) employees will depend on the financial capability of their local governments and board of directors, respectively.
Should there be insufficient funds to fully cover the Covid-19 hazard pay at the rate of PHP500 per day, a lower but uniform rate may also be granted.
Supplemental guidelines for the effective implementation of the order will soon be issued by the DBM.
Under the AO, private hospitals and other health facilities are encouraged to grant a similar benefit to their health workers and staff exposed to the dangers of Covid-19.
The AO takes effect after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a statement, welcomed the issuance of the AO stressing that it was the government’s way of mitigating the hardship involved in their employees’ work.
“The President is making this presidential directive as his way of alleviating the present hazardous situation of these government workers who have placed their lives on the line in this battle against the coronavirus in the name of public service,” he said.
Duterte placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine which strictly requires residents to stay indoors and limit movement to accessing basic necessities.
Those exempted are uniformed personnel, health workers, emergency and other mission-critical services, government workers on a skeletal force, and media personnel with accreditation from the Presidential Communications Operations Office among others.
He also placed the country under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity due to the Covid-19 outbreak which has infected 380 Filipinos and has 25 fatalities. (PNA)