Hazard pay for virus ‘war’ frontliners urged

TWO members of the House of Representatives appealed to the government for proper and on-time compensation for those on the frontlines of this health crisis and for the employees affected by the month-long community quarantine of Metro Manila.

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman asked government and even private sector to provide hazard pay to the most vulnerable sectors of society in its campaign to contain the spread of the corona virus or COVID-19.

Hataman said one of the possible measures for the vulnerable sectors may include hazard pay to those who will stay up and work despite the threat of COVID-19 infection, especially those in the medical field, healthcare workers, immigration employees, members of the media who are covering events, and security forces like the police and the military.

“Itong mga kababayan nating ito yung hindi magdadalawang-isip na isugal ang buhay sa kalsada o labas ng bahay dahil kailangan tumulong sa gobyerno to contain the spread of COVID-19. Sila yung exposed sa virus on daily basis and we need to protect them,” he explained.

Likewise, vice chairman of the appropriations committee and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas appealed for humanitarian consideration by giving advance salaries and extra pay to the workers, especially those that cannot work temporarily due to the COVID-19.

According to Vargas, the community quarantine included the stoppage of some work and many employees are facing the possibility of losing their income or suffering delayed salaries.

“We do not want the threat of COVID-19 to translate into poverty, missed meals, and reduced access to healthcare just because the breadwinners do not have the spending capacity to provide for their family’s needs. I appeal for employers’ flexibility in releasing one-month salary and/or mandatory bonuses in advance,” Vargas said.

As for the government, Vargas suggested early release of salary and even bonuses of the state workers especially frontliners.

The legislator added that this effort will help the economy despite the health crisis, as delayed or lack of income affects both the supply and demand sides. Reduced demand will hurt business owners, as well as their employees, while lowered supply can drive up commodity prices.

Confirmed COVID-19 infections in the country has reached 64, with eight deaths.  

Hataman also proposed easier processing and release of SSS Calamity Loan.