DOH starts release of compensation for virus-hit health workers
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has started distributing the financial assistance intended to healthcare workers who had died or became severely ill from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following criticisms from lawmakers and in line with President Duterte’s deadline.
In her regular online press briefing Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday the first death benefit check was handed out to the family of one of the 32 healthcare workers who succumbed to the viral disease on Thursday night.
“Sampu naman po ang kasalukuyang papadalhan ngayon sa National Capital Region at dalawa naman ang napadalhan na sa Region XI at ang iba ay naibigay na rin sa ating Centers for Health Development o ang ating Regional Offices,” Vergeire said.
(Ten checks have now been sent to the National Capital Region and two have been sent to Region XI and others have been handed to our Centers for Health Development or our Regional Offices.)
“Mismong ang kalihim ng Kalusugan na si Sec. Francisco Duque III ang nagtungo sa bawat pamilya ng mga nawalan sa buhay para makiramay at ipaabot ang tulong sa kanila,” she added.
(Health Secretary Francisco Duque III personally reached out to each of the families of our fallen health workers and extended the assistance intended for them.)
Under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, health workers who become severely ill in the line of duty are to get compensation of P100,000 while the family of those who died of COVID-19 in the line of duty should get P1 million.
However, it was bared during a recent Senate hearing that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on the provision of compensation to medical workers have yet to be finalized.
This prompted Duterte to give concerned government agencies until Tuesday, June 9 to release the sickness and death compensation of health workers.
The DOH, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Budget and Management came up with a Joint Administrative Order following the calls from several senators.
In a taped speech aired Friday morning, the President warned that he will fire officials behind delayed crafting of the IRR on the provision on health workers’ benefits.
While he did not specify who among the DOH officials will be punished, Duterte appears to have spared Duque from the blame.
The embattled health secretary also criticized his subordinates for delay in release of benefits.
“Nakakahiya talaga, Sir, namatayan na 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,” Duque said.
(It is a shame, Sir, that health workers are dying but some of my people still lack the sense of urgency. So my heart aches, Mr. President.)
To date, a total of 2,703 health workers nationwide have contracted the novel coroanvirus. Of the number, 32 have died.
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