De Lima laments plight of unpaid contract tracers, urges DOH to pay them


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima bewailed the government’s reported failure to give the salaries of contract tracers hired by the Department of Health (DOH) three to four months ago under the COVID-19 Surveillance and Quick Action Unit of the Epidemiology Bureau.

De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said contract tracers should not be undervalued, much less mistreated, considering the risks they go through in the performance of their duties during this time of crisis.

Hindi ito makatarungan! Hindi ito katanggap-tanggap! Sa kabila ng mga sakripisyo ng ating mga frontliners, lalo pang bumibigat ang kanilang mga pasanin sa di-pagbibigay ng agarang kompensasyon at kaukulang suporta,” she said.

Paano epektibong matutugunan ang pandemya kung ang kasalukuyang gobyerno ay hindi man lang magawang arugain at protektahan ang mga bayani nating humaharap sa panganib upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng sakit?” she added.

Based on reports, contact tracers have not been receiving their salaries since they were hired, with some of them having contracts that are set to expire at the end of September.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire admitted the said delay in paying contract tracers and stated that it was due to their incomplete requirements.

 Contrary to Vergeire’s statement, however, it was reported that some of the employees have long submitted the needed documents but still remained unpaid.  

 The Lady Senator from Bicol urged the DOH to stop giving excuses for their failure to compensate contract tracers and instead focus on guaranteeing the speedy release of their salaries.

“Their invaluable service should not be disregarded by the government by ensuring that they receive the right salaries due to them. They are not asking anything for free, they are merely asking to receive what they should have already received in the first place,” she said.

Last April, De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1439 seeking to grant basic hazard allowances for essential workers for both public and private sectors, as well as an additional hazard pay for all public health workers. (30)

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