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5 DOH officials suspended over late release of frontliners’ benefits

/ 11:26 PM October 27, 2020
DOH says general COVID-19 trend in ‘good direction’ but some areas showing increase in cases

The facade of the DOH main office in Manila. (File photo by Consuelo Marquez / INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Samuel Martires issued on Tuesday a preventive suspension order on five officials of the Department of Health (DOH) for their alleged shortcomings that resulted in the late release of COVID-19 frontliners’ benefits.

The following were suspended for six months without pay:

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  • Undersecretary Roger Tong-an
  • Assistant Secretary Kenneth Ronquillo
  • Assistant Secretary Maylene Beltran
  • Director Laureano Cruz
  • Administrative Officer Esperanza Carating

According to Martires, they were suspended to prevent them from influencing of interfering in the probe on the issue — especially since they had been charged with gross neglect of duty and insufficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties.

The Office of the Ombudsman has been investigating the DOH for its alleged shortcomings in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the DOH was accused of lacking personal protective equipment for health workers and being late in its release of funds for frontliners representing emergency or hazard benefits.

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Talks also about the insufficient compensation of some health workers started after a nurse who died of COVID-19 was revealed to have gotten only a small portion of the hazard pay her family was expecting.

READ: DOH urged to honor ‘health heroes,’ ensure release of hazard pay

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Department of Health, late release of funds for health workers, Office of the Ombudsman, Samuel Martires, suspended DOH officials
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