Angara eyes compensation for all virus-hit health care workers
MANILA, Philippines — The P100,000-compensation to healthcare workers who fell severely ill from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) provided under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act can be expanded to also cover non-severe cases, Senator Sonny Angara said Friday.
Angara said the provision under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2, which retains the grant of a P100,000-compensation to healthcare workers who contract a severe infection of the coronavirus in the line of duty provided under the first Bayanihan law, can be amended to include cases which are not severe.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, 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 would get P1 million.
“Pwede ho nating i-amyenda. Ang nakalagay ho kasi pag severe infection COVID cases, P100,000 (ang ibibigay). So tanggalin na lang ho siguro natin yung salitang ‘severe’ para dumami ho yung mag-benepisyo,” the senator, chair of the Senate finance committee, said in an interview over dzMM’s Teleradyo.
(We can amend that, because what is stated in the Bayanihan 1 is when a healthcare worker contracts severe infection, he/she will be given P100,000. So we can omit the word ‘severe’ so that more healthcare workers can benefit from it).
This, as Angara expressed the Senate’s readiness to convene in a special session to pass the Bayanihan 2 after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the executive branch will be calling for a special session of Congress for the passage of the measure.
“Handa ho kami diyan. Siguro petsa na lang po ang iniisip kasi in three weeks, State of the Nation na ni Presidente. Siguro naghahanap sila ng panahon dun sa tatlong linggo kung kailan o how long gagawin yung special session… Pero handa po ang Senado, matagal na hong handa ang Senado kung sakaling magtawag si Presidente,” Angara said.
(We are ready. I think they are just arranging the date because, in three weeks, the President will deliver his State of the Nation Address. So maybe the executive branch is just looking for space in between those three weeks on when and how long the special session will be… But the Senate is ready. We have long been ready for when the President will call for a special session of Congress.)
Congress adjourned sine die last month without passing on third and final reading Bayanihan 2, the bill seen to replace the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which granted the President additional powers to address the coronavirus pandemic.
The first Bayanihan law lapsed on June 25.
While Congress is currently still on break and will only resume for its second regular session on July 27, the same day President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), the chief executive can call for a special session of Congress to tackle urgent measures.
Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the executive department has submitted to the Senate its proposed amendments to the Bayanihan 2.
“As far as I know, today, the office of the Committee on Finance under Senator Sonny Angara has just received a proposal of amendments to the Bayanihan 2 from the executive department,” he told reporters in an interview on Tuesday.
According to Angara, some of the “major amendments” proposed by the executive department include some provisions of two measures filed in the House that are “intended to help distressed industries and enterprises, also help banks with the issue of non-performing loans.”
“These will probably be the subject of a separate bill from Bayanihan 2 since we have already approved the bill on second reading some weeks back,” Angara said in an earlier Viber message to INQUIRER.net.
“For other amendments I’m sure the Senate will be receptive to these during the bicameral conference, after conferring with our counterparts from the House,” he added.
The proposed amendments of the executive department have alr been routed to the senators for their comments, Angara had said.
The Philippines has so far confirmed 38,805 COVID-19 cases. Of the number, 10,673 patients have recovered while 1,274 have died.
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