Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) in the city will no longer be terminated by virtue of their age but they have to show proof of good health to continue their service as healthcare frontliners.
Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, who chairs the committee on health, said the local health board will assess the health condition of the BHWs regardless of age. This, after the City Council passed last Tuesday the amendments of the ordinance that set the mandatory retirement age of the village health workers.
“As long as the City Health Office, through the local health board, can prove that this BHW is now unable to fulfill his or her duty, he or she may be removed,” she said.
Based on Villafuerte’s resolution, the mandatory age of retirement of the BHWs should be 65 instead of 60, just like the mandatory age of retirement of other workers in the government. There are about 1,140 BHW volunteers in the city and around 30 of them will turn 60 this year.
“For a lot of BHWs, they still feel that they are fit enough even if they will already turn 60 this year. Had this amendments fail to pass, they only have until December to volunteer as BHWs,” Villafuerte said in a previous interview.
According to her, the additional five years in service will be truly of help to the health workers especially in providing for their family. “Some of them still have kids that go to school, so the additional five years of getting financial remuneration from the city will be very helpful for them,” she added.
The BHW grouped in the city welcomed the development especially that according to them, this will also help in addressing the lack of volunteer health workers in the city. “We lack BHW volunteers. We even hardly find dedicated volunteers from our own barangay,” president of the BWH group in the city Bernadith Lutang said.
“Given the length of our service, we are very familiar with our work already. I have served as a BHW for 26 years. I continue to serve whether we are given honorarium or not so it is really unfortunate for us to be terminated when we can still serve and we still want to serve,” she said.