‘Nakakahiya talaga’: Duque blames subordinates over delayed benefits of healthcare workers
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Friday reprimanded his people in the Department of Health (DOH) over the delayed payment of financial benefits to the family of healthcare workers who died in the line of duty.
In a televised meeting among members of the government’s COVID-19 task force, Duque reported to President Rodrigo Duterte that he ordered his department to expedite the release of the P1-million indemnity to the families of the 32 medical workers who succumbed to COVID-19.
“Yung pinapatutukan ko po, yung 32 families na kailangan po yung ayuda nila na P1 million, based on your directive, dapat yun i-release,” the health chief told the President.
(I asked them to focus on the 32 families who, based on your directive, were entitled to the P1 million compensation. It should be will be released.)
“Kasi nakakahiya talaga, Sir. Namatayan nga tapos nagpa-wardi-wardi yung mga tao ko na parang walang sense of urgency. Kaya po ang sama sama po ng loob ko, Mr. President,” he added.
(It is a shame, sir. Health workers have already died, but some of my people are bungling their job, as if they have no sense of urgency. So I really feel bad about this, Mr. President.)
Under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which was enacted back in March, health workers who become severely ill in the line of duty are to get a compensation of P100,000 while the family of those who died of COVID-19 in the line of duty should get P1 million.
It was disclosed during a Senate session earlier this week that the cash benefits provided under the said law have yet to be released due to the absence of implementing rules and regulations.
Senators have already called the attention of the DOH over the delayed compensation to healthcare workers.
After this, the President set a deadline of until June 9 to release the compensation for virus-hit health workers.
This team, Duterte said, would be tasked to ensure the immediate release of the compensation to beneficiaries.
“Secretary Duque, you have the full authority to assemble a team. It may not really be from your office or from the department itself,” the President said.
“You can get persons of known honesty diyan sa opisina mo (there in your office), even temporary, just for a new designation, just to take care of these funds which ought to be in the hands of the intended beneficiaries by this time,” he added.
But hours after Duterte’s briefing was aired, the health secretary took responsibility for the hampered compensation.
“While I expressed disappointment towards some members of my team, I acknowledge that this is still my responsibility as SOH (Secretary of Health),” Duque said in a tweet.
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