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Protect Barangay Health Workers
« on: April 18, 2018, 04:05:50 PM »
KABAYAN Party-list
Assistant Majority Leader

Member, Rural Development, Health, and 10 other Committees


Some incumbent and aspiring barangay officials are using the BHWs’ security or lack thereof as a strategy option in the ongoing barangay elections campaign 

Barangay health workers have become a pervasive, effective, and critical force multiplier of the DOH and DSWD in the delivery of crucial basic health services at the community level, especially in rural areas.

Other than few hundreds of pesos as honorarium or allowance, these army of volunteers are not receiving anything from the government in exchange of their services. They are in that posts not for anything but for love of their country and their fellowmen, and for their desire to improve the health conditions of our people. Some, if not most of them, are rendering their services for free for long years, or even decades, now. Most of them are already senior citizens even when they started in this volunteer work in the prime of their years. 

Yet, the ‘security of tenure’ of our nationwide army of barangay health workers is now in jeopardy as some incumbent and aspiring barangay officials are using the BHWs’ security or lack thereof as a strategy option in the ongoing barangay elections campaign.

As I have been touching base with the constituencies of KABAYAN Party-List at ground level during this summer break of the session of Congress, it has come to my attention that some barangay health workers are being used as pawns in the political campaign. 

Some barangay health workers are being threatened with ejection from their posts. Some are being forced to throw their support behind candidates. 

This is unfortunate inasmuch as the barangay election is supposed to be non-partisan. More so with the BHWs, who should be apolitical. Besides, illnesses do not distinguish political colors, neither the health and condition of our people.

I am asking the DOH, DILG and the Civil Service Commission to intervene and speak out against partisan political activity. Partisan in the barangay and SK elections means not just involving political parties but express and implied support to particular candidates.

I also ask the DBM, DILG, CSC, DOH, and DSWD to support House Bill 4277 which I filed so that our barangay health workers will have civil service eligibility, incentives, benefits, security of tenure, regular allowances, and other social protections against economic hardships and political interference.

Public health and social services are clearly top priorities of the national government. I trust that our fellow public servants in the executive branch and here in Congress will support the passage of House Bill 4277.

Getting HB 4277 will take some time to enact into law. I have high hopes that it will be considered and passed in the Third Session of the current 17th Congress. While that happens, I ask the DOH, DILG and CSC to respect the hard work our barangay health workers have invested in their communities by protecting them against removal by barangay officials. Perhaps, an executive order by the President can make this happen, and we appeal to the DILG, DOH and CSC to fully support such measure. 

I am confident that former CSC chairman, now Health Secretary Francisco Duque, will help in fully protecting our barangay health workers.  (END)

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