Heed health workers’ distress call in fight vs COVID-19, Poe urges gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe on Saturday called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and other concerned government agencies to act promptly on the call for help of the country’s health workers, who have been risking their lives while many have fallen ill, as they battle COVID-19.
Poe bewailed how groups of health workers had to resort to staging an online protest on Friday, the National Day of Valor, to air their plight.
“The strain of the pandemic is heavily taking its toll on health workers as cases climb. Our doctors, nurses and hospital staff are not insusceptible to the virus, and need protection as well,” she said.
Poe was referring to the online protest waged by the Alliance of Health Workers, sharing on social media photos of their members clamoring for the release of allowances for meals, accommodations, transportation and “special risk” compensation provided under the Bayanihan to Recover As One law.
Poe said health workers should be given what is due them under the law and what they deserve for the vital role they play amid the pandemic.
Important human resources
“As we take care of our patients, let us not forget the needs of the men and women who make sure the sick are treated. Our medical front-liners are the most important human resources that make our health system up and running,” she said.
Poe echoed the sentiments of the health workers that while they are committed to their work, they deserve proper compensation and recognition because “they have their families to sustain and their countrymen to serve for the long haul.”
Release without delay
“Risk pay, meals, transportation, accommodation and other allowances should be released without delay. They should also be provided with proper protective gears as they wade into the COVID-19 battlefield to save lives,” she said.
She said the benefits under the Bayanihan law and other pertinent laws intended for health workers who had died or fallen ill should be given in full to them or their families “to show that their selfless services are highly valued.”
Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One law, health workers who fall ill due to the new coronavirus in the line of duty will receive compensation of P15,000 for mild cases and P100,000 for severe cases.
The family of the health worker will receive P1 million in case of death.
The law also specified other benefits such as hazard duty pay, monthly special risk allowance, and life insurance, accommodation, transportation and meals to all public and private health workers.
“They answer to the call of duty while battling their own fear and anxiety. We assure them that, at the end of a very long day, their services are appreciated and compensated as they have their own families to attend to,” Poe said.
The senator said the pandemic had highlighted the extent to which health workers’ determined efforts and capacities to protect and save lives are key to ensuring an efficiently functioning health system and society.
“No hospital, medical facility or country can keep patients safe unless its health workers are protected and well taken care of,” Poe said.
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