President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday vowed to increase the special risk allowance given to volunteer health workers, saying the current P5,000 rate was “too small.”

In a “Talk to the People” address, the president said he would raise the amount to persuade more medical workers to volunteer for the government.

“I think that the P5,000 is masyadong maliit ngayon considering the attendant danger to the guys, medyo they should be given more. You take into account the possibility of danger na they themselves will get the [virus] because they have to go near and they have to treat those people,” Duterte told Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“I will raise the amount. Ano basta — tutal ano ba naman ‘yang pera? Ubusin natin ‘yung pera nitong gobyernong ‘to para sa inyo. Now kung wala, maghintay na lang tayo ng lahat,” he added.

Duterte said he was willing to borrow money from the World Bank should the country run out of funds to compensate medical volunteers.

He also urged medical school graduates who have yet to know their licensure exam results to assist the government.

“Naisip ko kasi kulang talaga, as you have said, kulang tayo ng medical guys. This is just a suggestion…Maybe they can help this country, their country, his country, her country, by volunteering to assist us kung ginusto lang nila,” Duterte said.

The disbursement of allowance and benefits of health workers in the Philippines amid the Covid-19 pandemic has been erratic.

Medical workers have resorted to protests to voice out their complaints about the government’s late release of funds. Some have also complained about the computation of their special risk allowances. John Ezekiel J. Hirro