Nurse who died of COVID-19 gets P7,000 hazard pay, not P30,000 – daughter
MANILA, Philippines — The daughter of a nurse who died from COVID-19 was to get her mother’s hazard pay and expecting it would amount to P30,000 — computed based on the P500 per day per government worker pronouncement of health officials.
To her surprise, however, she found out that her mother’s ancillary payment for toiling under dangerous conditions – at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic – was: P7,000.
According to Joie Cruz, daughter of Maria Theresa Cruz, a Cainta public hospital nurse who succumbed to the coronavirus last July, her mother has anticipated using the hazard pay to purchase equipment needed for her younger sibling’s online classes.
However, when she went to the hospital last Monday, it was revealed that her hazard pay was only P150 a day, and after several deductions, a meager P64 a day.
“My mom was eager to receive her hazard pay because she said she was going to use it for Maxene’s Groiler Home Learning Materials. She and her co-workers were expecting about PHP 30,000+ for their COVID hazard pay, based on the DOH announcement of PHP 500 per day for frontliners,” Joie said in her Facebook post.
“My mom died before she even got her hazard pay,” she also noted. “Yesterday, I went to her workplace to process some of her docs and to claim her benefits. I was told that her COVID hazard pay is already available. Instead of the expected PHP 30,000+, what I received was PHP 7,000+.”
The younger Cruz said that the issue does not stem from financial needs, but the penchant of the government to say things that it would not fulfill or things that it may eventually circumvent.
Previously, the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), a group vocal about the health workers’ plight amid the ongoing pandemic, claimed that the hazard pay for health workers is deceptive and divisive.
According to AHW, health workers are made to choose which hazard pay is better — the one indicated by the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers or the COVID-19 hazard pay.
“This issue is not about monetary value. This issue is about how some government agencies lie and how we take for granted and exploit our frontliners in the face of this pandemic,” Joie said.
“This issue is about how my mom was treated way way below than what she deserves in a local public hospital where she worked in for more than 10 years – the first 4 years of those were without any salary,” she added.
Various health worker groups have complained of low salaries coupled with unsafe workplaces, as they are being forced to work longer than usual and in some cases, without a consistent supply of personal protective equipment.
Just recently, President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after health workers’ appealed for a break amid continuously increasing cases of COVID-19. However, some healthcare practitioners said that the MECQ was not the solution, rather, they were looking for the government’s recalibrated response to the pandemic.
AHW previously said that the government needs to hire more health workers to avoid a collapse of the healthcare system while assuring that the demands of health workers are met to prevent resignations.
AHW also called on health authorities to subject health workers to mass testing even if they do not have symptoms of the disease, to avoid deaths brought by the pandemic. While AHW’s call was made as early as April, Joie said her mother was denied a swab test despite being exposed to a COVID-19 patient.
“We’re just going through our grieving process, but to the people who played a key role in denying my mom a swab test after she was exposed to a COVID-19 patient and who angrily cursed on my mom after I commented on a local politician’s post last March that she and her co-workers were not given supplies and PPEs, we forgive you,” she said.
“We forgive you, but we will NEVER FORGET. We will hold you accountable. We will make sure that all appropriate actions will be taken to hold you accountable. You know who you are. Our mom’s passing will not be in vain.”
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