COTABATO CITY— The Ministry of Health (MOH) has increased the cash incentives for the region’s primary healthcare system frontliners — the barangay health workers (BHW).
“Alhamdullillah, with the help of our big bosses sa MOH and Bangsamoro Government, nag-increase po (ang incentives) kasi last year we only have 500 pesos per month, pero this year inincrease nila to Php1,000.00,” said MOH BHW Regional Coordinator Anisa Matuan.
Matuan disclosed that for 2021, MOH has allotted Php32-million for the incentives of the 5,243 BHWs across BARMM, excluding those in Cotabato City and in BARMM’s Special Geographic Area (SGA). In 2022, the budget doubled to Php72-million for the 6,000 BHWs in the region, including SGA, without Cotabato City.
“For our BHWs, sila po yung little heroes namin sa community because they serve as a link sa ating mga local government units at sa ating mga health workers,” she said.
Matuan also said that the cash incentive is in compliance to Republic Act No. 7883 or the act granting benefits and incentives to accredit BHWs.
Under this law, BHWs is defined as “a person who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization, and who voluntarily renders primary healthcare services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health.”
Clarifying that BHWs are not medical personnel, Matuan said that to officially become a BHW, one must volunteer for a year to be registered with the local health board, and another three years to get the certificate of accreditation.
On Sept. 29. MOH released Php6,000.00 each to a total of 878 BHWs in Basilan province. The incentive covered the months of January – June 2022.
“For the other provinces, na-download na natin sa provincial health offices nila. Sila po ang magdi-distribute noong incentives sa kani-kanilang BHW,” Matuan said.
To date, there are 2,651 BHWs in Maguindanao, 876 in Lanao del Sur, 150 in Marawi City, 624 in Basilan, 200 in Lamitan City, 604 in Sulu, 628 in Tawi-Tawi, and 267 in SGA.
“Maraming maraming salamat sa MOH-BARMM kasi marami po silang naitulong sa amin, ‘yung nabigyan kami ng kits atsaka marami din kaming natutunan sa trainings namin bilang BHW,” said Undusiya Jamilon, 49, one of the incentive recipients.
Residing in Barangay Pipil, Unkaya Pukan in Basilan, Jamilon has been serving as a BHW for 19 years now.(Myrna Tepadan/BIO)