Tax-free, prompt release of cash aid for COVID-stricken medical frontliners pressed
MANILA, Philippines — The financial assistance granted to the families of healthcare workers who succumbed or were stricken by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the line of duty will be tax-free and should be paid out within 90 days.
This was the amendment made to Senate Bill No. 1564, or the proposed “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,” according to Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
Legislators earlier found out that the over 30 COVID-19 frontliners who died or got severely ill have yet to receive financial assistance from the government as provided for under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Under the current law, public and private health workers who contract severe COVID-19 infection in the line of duty are entitled to P100,000, while the families of those who succumb to the viral illness will receive P1 million.
“We are imposing a deadline. Its release should not be at the mercy of red tape,” Recto said in a statement on Thursday.
He explained that “Bayanihan 2” will now require payment of compensation not later than 90 days after the date of confinement or death. The cash aid will also be exempted from all applicable taxes under the National Internal Revenue Code.
“The taxman should not have a share of the state’s monetary thank you to these heroes,” the senator said.
“Yung mga pabuya nga sa mga atletang nagkamedalya walang buwis, ito pa kayang para sa mga totoong nagbuwis buhay?”
(The cash rewards given to athletes who won medals are tax-free, then why not for those who put risked and sacrificed their life).
As of June 3, more than 2,600 frontline healthcare workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Thirty two have died.
Senators have already called the attention of the Department of Health (DOH) over the delayed release of government aid to infected healthcare workers.
In a letter addressed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Senate President Vicente Sotto III enjoined the DOH to immediately implement the said compensation provision of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
“They are being so-called COVID-19 heroes and the accolades they received each day are enough reminders to get noticed by everyone, including you. But it seems that you pay no heed to these facts,” Sotto’s letter read.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
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