For the sacrifices they made to protect the health of ordinary FIlipinos, it is only fitting that barangay health workers (BHWs) be entitled to additional compensation and benefits.

This is the gist of Senate Bill 232 filed by Senator Robin Padilla, which also sought to stop discrimination against the BHWs.

Padilla’s bill also aims to grant BHWs the right to self-organize to seek redress for grievances in a peaceful manner.

“With the huge role that our BHWs perform in our health sector, it is only proper that the State likewise protect those who protect our people by giving them just compensation and other benefits and incentives that they rightfully deserve,” the legislator said in his bill.

“This bill also includes the BHWs’ right to self-organization.”

“This bill also includes the BHWs’ right to self-organization in order to freely form, join or assist organizations to obtain redress of their grievances through peaceful concerted activities, in a manner not contrary to law,” the seasoned lawmaker added.

Covered by the bill are BHWs who are registered and accredited with the municipal or city health boards.

To be accredited, BHWs must have rendered at least two years of continuous and satisfactory service.

To be accredited, BHWs must have rendered at least two years of “continuous and satisfactory service,” as well as have completed “regular training program on health care service and community-based health program” as prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH).

Municipal and city health offices are to maintain an updated BHW Registry, while the DOH will maintain a national registry of BHWs.

BHWs are to fulfill the roles of “advocate” or health programs; “educator” to guide the community on health priorities of local government units; “disseminator” of health updates to the community; “coordinator” for health services; “record keeper” of health data, activities and events in the community; and “health care service provider.”

Under the bill, at least one BHW is to be appointed for every 20 households in a barangay.

Benefits under the measure include:

* 20% discount on items under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010
* Hazard allowance of at least P1,000 per month
* Subsistence allowance of at least P100 per day
* Transportation allowance of at least P1,000 per month
* One-time Retirement Cash Incentive of P100,000 for accredited BHWs who served for 15 years
* Training, Education and Career Enrichment Programs
* Health benefits such as free medical care, emergency assistance and mandatory membership in PhilHealth
* Insurance coverage
* Sick, Vacation and Maternity Leaves
* Cash gift in December
* Disability benefit
* Civil service eligibility
* Free legal services
* Preferential access in loan facilities

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and municipal, city and provincial governments are to set up a grievance mechanism for BHWs. Meanwhile, the DOH is to conduct capacity building for BHWs.

Appropriate penalties await local government officials who will violate the provisions of the measure.



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