IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay, Dec. 22 (PNA) — The provincial government has released PhP 6.8-million representing payment of incentives to the Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) and Barangay Health Workers (BHW) of this province.
Zamboanga Sibugay province, which consists of 16 municipalities with 389 barangays, has 641 BNS and 1,650 BHWs for a total of 2,291 personnel rendering voluntary services up to the remotest areas.
Based on the 2015 census, the province has a population of 633,129.
Each of the 2,291 BNS and BHWs received PhP 3,000 each as incentive this year.
Governor Wilter Palma headed the release of the incentives to the BNS and BHWs during a program held on Wednesday at the provincial capitol.
Palma lauded the BNS and BHWs for the sacrifice and diligent delivery of basic health and nutrition services they rendered in the remote areas of the province.
Palma said the province has been conferred the Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (CROWN) Award on December 13 by the Department of Health (DOH) as a result of the excellent delivery of health and nutrition services by the BNS and BHWs.
This year’s CROWN Award is the third this province had received since 2013.
Palma has pledged to increase to PhP5,000 next year the incentives of the BNS and BHWs in recognition to their excellent efforts of volunteerism.
The BNS was activated through Presidential Decree 1569 promulgated in 1978.
Palma noted that P.D. 1569, which was never amended, has been overtaken by time in terms of benefits since it only provides PhP 120 allowance from the national coffers and PhP 150 incentive from the local government units to each of the BNS.
The BHW is funded by government through Republic Act 7883 or the Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995.
Each of them is entitled to benefits and incentives for the voluntary service they render in the community based on R.A. 7883.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Representative Wilter Palma II said he is filing a bill in Congress to ensure the protection and to increase the benefits of the BNS and BHWs.
The younger Palma, a lawyer like his father, stressed that both BNS and BHWs serves as the health caretakers of the “common tao” in the far-flung areas despite their meager benefits. (PNA)
NYP/TPGJR/DENNIS C. BAGUIO/