Healthcare Workers in Philippines Demand Immediate Release of 62 Billion Pesos in HEA Arrears


Healthcare Workers in Philippines Demand Immediate Release of 62 Billion Pesos in HEA Arrears

UNI Global Union-Philippine Liaison Council with United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (UPHUP), Unified Filipino Service Workers (UFSW) along with various other unions representing healthcare workers and with over 150 workers at the rally on 1st March 2024 demand immediate release of Health Emergency Allowance for healthcare workers in Manilla, Philippines.  

Despite the conclusion of the public health emergency, private healthcare workers remain deeply disheartened by the persistent delay in release of their Health Emergency Allowance (HEA). The government currently owes a staggering 62 billion pesos to cover the HEA for all health workers, yet the disbursement plan extends over a three-year period until 2026. Healthcare workers are calling for the immediate release of their long-awaited health emergency allowances as promised.

“It is unjust for healthcare workers to endure over three years of waiting for the health emergency allowance,” said Donell John Siazon, President of Ugnayang Nagkakaisang Manggagawa – UST Hospital and one of the lead convenors of United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (UPHUP). Siazon emphasized that private healthcare workers have no intention of causing trouble for the Department of Budget Management (DBM). “We’ve been sacrificing for years, so our plea is simple: DBM, please face us directly and explain what happened with the health emergency allowance for private healthcare workers”

According to statements from Department of Budget Management (DBM), 20 billion pesos were allocated for 2024 to address the backlog of HEA payments. Despite the small budget allocation, the situation remains mired in confusion as both the DBM and the Department of Health (DOH) engage in scapegoating, leaving health workers bewildered about the whereabouts of the funds.

Ronald Richie Ignacio, Spokesperson of UPHUP pleaded, “We hope they won’t prolong it as stated by Sec. Herbosa, projecting it to extend until 2026 before all healthcare workers are compensated. They need to improve their job, both the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget Management (DBM).”

Rajendra Acharya, Regional Secretary of UNI Asia & Pacific, “We stand in solidarity with United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines and all private healthcare workers in demanding immediate release of the HEA funds. Their tireless dedication and selfless service amidst adversity deserve not just acknowledgment but action. We join hands with them in demanding justice, fairness, and the fulfillment of promises made”.

Apart from the ongoing battle for HEA, private health workers are grappling with issues ranging from under-staffing to low pay and even union busting. “We’re fighting for all of that. Please, do not add more distress. We don’t want to keep revisiting this issue with the health emergency allowance. It’s exhausting.” Ignacio stated, reflecting the frustrations and disappointments of many healthcare workers.

The coalition urges the Department of Budget Management (DBM) to honor its commitment and expedite the release of the 62 billion pesos in HEA arrears without further delay. Healthcare workers are resolute and will continue until answers and solutions are served, their dedication and sacrifices deserve immediate resolution.


Download the official press statement


The Philippines

UNI Asia & Pacific