Sens. Marcos, Hontiveros call on gov't to grant hazard pay, cut meds prices amid COVID-19 pandemic

Senators Imee Marcos and Risa Hontiveros called on the government on Monday to cut the prices of medicines and grant hazard pay, respectively, amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Marcos appealed to the government for the lowering of prices of more medicines and the immediate purchase of critical equipment aside from the testing kits.

Marcos said more medicines for the immunocompromised or individuals with weaker immune system due to diabetes, hypertension, lung disorders, among others, should be included in the list of drugs that the government is considering for price regulation.

Marcos mentioned that the immunocompromised individuals' hope amid the pandemic is the cheaper medicines since there is no vaccine or cure for the COVID-19 yet.

Further, Marcos appealed to health officials to “speed up” the purchase of personal protective equipment for frontliners and oxygen, ventilators, and beds for critical patients.

On the other hand, Hontiveros called for the urgent grant of hazard pay to health workers, government employees, military and police, security personnel, service workers, and other frontliners.

Citing Republic Act No. 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, Hontiveros explained that health workers in the public sector whose work exposes them to “danger, occupational risks, and perils to life” must be provided an additional hazard pay which can be as high as 25% of their basic salary per month, depending on their salary grade.

Hontiveros added that government employees who work for public services such as traffic enforcers, police, office clerks, among others, must also be granted a hazard pay.

Hontiveros also appealed to the private sector to “take the initiative in providing additional pay” to their workers.

Marcos and Hontiveros called on the protection of frontliners as they are the ones who sacrifice to the stop the spread of the COVID-19.