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Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto ask the government to regularize and promote frontliners as their reward in leading the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“How can the government reward medical frontliners? Let us count some of the ways. Release their hazard pay now. Regularize and promote (them),” Recto said.

“As to promotion, if we cannot do mass testing, (do) mass promotion to those working hard,” he said.

The lawmaker added that there are two kinds of job promotion one is through what is called in government-speak as a “step increase,” the other is promotion to the next salary grade.

“The government has pay scale and, believe it or not, 258 categories. There are 33 Salary Grades (SG) and each SG in turn has eight steps, except the highest, SG 33 – which has two steps and is occupied by one person, the President,” said Recto.

He said the monthly SG of an SG-15 nurse has 8 steps from P32,053; although they are in the same SG, a nurse in Step 1 category is paid almost P33,000 lower than what a Step 8 holder gets in a year.

“Many government employees, including those working at the DOH (Department of Health) hospitals, are stranded in their salary step. They have been marooned in that category. Pandemic or not, they deserve to be bumped up in the pay scale,” he added.

“Our health workers stand in the line of fire every day. In a workplace teeming with lethal pathogens, one mistake can be fatal. But there are no Purple Hearts for the wounded white coats,” he said.

As of July 28, a total of 4,691 health care workers have been downed by “respiratory distress,” from the 4,443 reported three days before on July 25, a surge of 82 a day. One health worker lands in the sick bay every 20 minutes, Recto said.

For those who have been laboring for years as casuals, the senator said they should be rewarded with regularization.

If academic qualifications bar the regularization of non-medical but essential staff in hospitals, waive them, Recto said.

 


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