Cebu City medical frontliners seek release of pay, allowances

NURSES and other healthcare workers employed by the Cebu City Government have cried foul over the delay in the release of their salaries and allowances.More than 200 healthcare workers of the City Health Department (CHD), not including those who work at the Cebu City Medical Center, have not received their One Covid Allowance (OCA) from January to August 2022.Ashley (real name withheld), who works as a nurse at the CHD, told SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, that they were also not able to receive their salaries for the month of July.Mayor Michael Rama said in a separate interview that he will look into the matter first thing on Monday, Sept. 5.“We will look into that. Atoa nang tan-awon nga dili na ma-delay (We’ll make sure their salaries and allowances won’t be delayed),” said Rama.The mayor assured the healthcare workers that their appointment papers will also be checked and processed immediately.Job order employeesThe medical frontliners are job order employees of the Cebu City Government and Ashley said that they have not been given their appointment papers since the time Rama announced that not all employees would be renewed last July 1.However, the healthcare workers still rendered their services to the City without an assurance whether their names are still on the city’s payroll, she said.“Gipa-duty mi nila nga walay appointment. Karon, dili namo madawat ang sweldo kay wala man mi appointment… Mag-submit pa ang CHD og master list ngadto sa mayor’s office,” said Ashley.(We were asked to continue our duties even though we don’t have appointment papers. Now, we cannot get our salaries because we don’t have appointment papers…The CHD still has to submit a master list to the mayor’s office.)No definite answersAshley added that they had already reached out to different City Hall offices but they got no definite answers.Some medical frontliners had already quit their job due to the delay of compensation and many have already returned to their hometowns to look for other opportunities, said Ashley.The distribution of OCA to medical frontliners is in accordance with Republic Act 11712, or an act granting mandatory continuing benefits and allowances to public and private healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and other future public health emergencies.OCA recipients who are identified to be at high risk for Covid-19 will receive P9,000 per month, while those who are deployed in moderate and low-risk areas are entitled to a monthly benefit of P6,000 and P3,000, respectively.According to Ashley, they heard some reports that casual and regular City Hall employees had already received their OCA despite them not being on the frontline.