MUCH-NEEDED BREAK Medical front-liners take a breather as they wait for a ride back to their assigned isolation facility after bringing a COVID-19 patient to a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City, where health workers are battling a spike in virus infections for over two months now. —PHOTO COURTESY OF AICY SANTOS/CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY INFORMATION OFFICE

Medical frontliners take a breather as they wait for a ride back to their assigned isolation facility after bringing a COVID-19 patient to a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City. This photo was taken in August 2021.  (Photo courtesy of AICY SANTOS / Cagayan de Oro City Information Office)

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III requested President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday to issue an administrative order that would allow the Department of Health to release the meals, accommodation, and transportation (MAT) allowances of health workers who had not received the benefits under the already expired Bayanihan 2.

The MAT allowances total some P2.51 billion and would be given to 423,000 healthcare workers, covering the period September to December 2020, Duque said in Duterte’s first taped televised briefing this week.

“The DOH has prepared an administrative order and I have given it to Executive Secretary [Salvador] Medialdea,” Duque said in Filipino.

“We are asking for your approval, Mr. President, so we can release these allowances to healthcare workers,” he added.

These allowances were promised under the Bayanihan 2 — the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

The president’s authorization would be needed for the release of the allowances as Bayanihan 2 had already lapsed in June 2021, Duque said.

READ: Health workers demand unpaid benefits as Bayanihan 2 expires 

ATM

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