Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Thursday pushed for the grant of regular monthly pay for barangay (village) health workers, saying they are crucial in easing hunger and malnutrition in communities.
In her speech during the 43rd Seminar Series of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Robredo lamented that health workers and nutrition scholars in villages are often overworked and grossly underpaid.
Under existing laws, health workers only get hazard and subsistence allowances, career-enrichment opportunities and free legal services.
On the other hand, nurition scholars only receive a modest monthly traveling allowance from the National Nutrition Council, which oversees the initiative. The amount of the allowance depends on the financial capability of the local government units.
“Institutionalizing a regular salary for them is an important first step towards achieving solutions for hunger and malnutrition in the country. These workers care for our malnourished children, but they also need our outmost care,” Robredo said.
“It is important that we take care of those who take care of our welfare,” she added.
As a Camarines Sur representative, Robredo filed a bill that seeks to grant regular salary for barangay health workers and other volunteer workers, as well as PhilHealth coverage and training sessions on how to effectively exercise their duties.
Her bill, however, failed to secure Congress’ approval.