June of every year as the “National Frontliners Month”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GREETING to Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” G. Lazatin, I hope you get to take a short break from your service to celebrate your birthday amid the COVID19 pandemic. It is scientifically proven that people who have more birthdays live longer. Congratulations on your success! May you have many more!

Recently, Lazatin ought to show gratitude to all health workers and frontliners for their unhampered sacrifices in rendering health services and ensuring safety to the Angeleños in the battle against COVID-19. He has convened the Local Finance Committee to speed up release of the Special Risk Allowance o SRA, in addition to the hazard pay, which is equivalent to a maximum of 25% of monthly basic salary/pay to public health workers (PHWs) who have great great exposure to health risks and physical hardships in the line of duty in the light of the COVID19 crisis.

During the June 12 Independence Day rites, Lazatin extolled the city’s health workers and frontliners. He said this year’s commemoration of the 122nd year of Philippine Independence Day is dedicated for all the frontliners both public and private sectors. He reminisced during the peak of the pre-enhanced community quarantine when the city government carried out house-to-house relief operations in each of the city’s 33 barangays. City hall employees have been the backbone of the city government in extending a helping hand to constituents.

He also announced that all hospitals in the city are encouraged to provide temporary housing, free food, and regular swab tests to medical staff assigned to COVID-19 wards. Furthermore, a total of 2,246 city hall frontliners working at the peak of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) already received hazard pay since April. Lazatin appropriated a total of P37-million budget for hazard pay alone. The release of hazard pay is in compliance with Administrative Order 26 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, which states that “personnel who are already entitled to Hazard Pay, Hazardous Duty Pay, Hazard Allowance or other similar benefits under existing laws, issuances, rules and regulations, such as PHWs… shall continue to be entitled to COVID-19 Hazard Pay, whichever is higher.”

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Senator Win Gatchalian filed last week a proposed bill declaring the month of June of every year as the “National Frontliners Month” in the entire country. He explained that we have seen the courage, strength and commendable efforts of our frontline workers, especially our LGU and barangay officials and employees, in relentlessly fighting the challenges of protecting and serving our communities. Most Filipinos are kept out of harm’s ways – safe at home and able to continue working and being with loved ones – because our frontline workers -the healthcare workers, food delivery drivers, supermarket workers, restaurant cooks, security guards, agriculture and fisheries workers, garbage collectors, bank employees, logistics workers, energy, water and other utility employees, police and military personnel, social workers, media people, and local government unit (LGU) and barangay workers — to name a few, have been working selflessly during this pandemic, reporting to their offices or job sites. and risking their personal health to keep the economy in motion and the rest of us safe. Heeding the call to render essential services, fighting the spread of the virus, maintaining order and ensuring the availability of basic and critical resources and services, these frontline workers have risked their own lives as well as their family members every day whenever they deal with a patient, deliver food to our homes, clean our houses, collect our trash, keep subdivisions, villages, condominiums and barangays safe and secure, maintain cleanliness in public spaces to prevent the spread of other diseases, bring food and cash rations to the needy and vulnerable, and ensure that everyone comply with the community quarantine order to stop the spread of COVID19. No doubt that these frontline workers are rightfully hailed as the new heroes of our time, as they put their own safety on the line to continue serving the public while the rest of us stay home. This is not the first time nor will it be the last time that these frontline workers have and will staunchly and heroically respond to the call of duty. 

Gatchalian pointed out that since June is the month when we celebrate Philippine independence which was brought about by the heroism of Filipino revolutionaries who fought against foreign rule, it is only fitting that this measure seeks to institutionalize the annual celebration of the principles, values and contributions of our frontline workers who carry the tradition of the same Filipino heroism through their own hard work and sacrifices. This measure seeks to give recognition to our frontline workers as the new breed of Filipino heroes. The Department of Health, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Department of Interior and Local Government, as the lead, in coordination with the Civil Service Commission and other government agencies, are mandated to conduct activities and programs that promotes the principles and values espoused by our frontline workers as well as those that underscores, honors and/or rewards our frontline workers for their essential role in nation building and for their significant contribution in protecting public welfare.