As part of his push to provide a better quality of life to Filipino health workers, the office of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano provided financial assistance to hundreds of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) in Pungo Calumpit, Bulacan on April 18, 2023.
The aid distribution was done in coordination with the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
In a short message at the event, former Bulacan first district Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado expressed his gratitude for the service provided to the BHWs.
He also thanked Cayetano for his continuous efforts to provide better benefits to grassroots health workers.
The 370 BHWs from Calumpit and nearby areas each got monetary assistance amounting to P2,500 to help with daily expenses and medical supplies to allow them to perform their duties properly.
The BHWS can also expect more benefits to come their way as the AICS drive is only one of Cayetano’s many initiatives to help them.
One of the senator’s biggest moves is the proposed Mahal Ko, Barangay Health Worker Ko Law, which aims to provide a better standard of living to BHWs by elevating their status to regular government workers and providing better compensation packages to improve their quality of life.
“As frontliners of our Primary Healthcare System, our Barangay Health workers (BHWs) must be given sufficient incentives, benefits and most of all just compensation for all the hard work they have done for us,” Cayetano said in the Explanatory Note of the bill, which he filed in July 2022.
Many BHWs who received aid from the AICS program on Tuesday expressed their support for the passage of the Mahal Ko, Barangay Health Worker Ko Law.
“Malaking tulong po sa kagaya ko,” Michelle Marie Esparza said. “Kasi bilang isang volunteer, wala kaming permanent na sahod.
Mayroon man kaming compensation, maliit lang. Kumpara doon sa trabahong naibibigay namin sa barangay, hindi siya ganoon kasapat para doon sa klase ng work na ginagawa namin tapos itutumbas doon sa sweldo na nakukuha namin.”
[“It would be a big help for me. As a volunteer, there’s no permanent salary. Even if there is compensation, the amount’s minuscule. Compared to the work we give to the Barangay, the wage does not meet our expectations.”]
Cayetano is also the principal author of the proposed Barangay Health Centers Act which aims to establish Barangay Health Centers throughout the country that will be given a specific portion of the LGU budget to allow them to carry out their tasks.