By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima commended all health workers and frontliners, both in the public and private sectors, in the battle against COVID-19, saluting them for their courage and the heroic sacrifices they are making for the Filipino people.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said she will continue to pray for the safety of the doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel who are working double time to stave off the spread of the virus.
“To all our health workers, scientists, and government workers, including private individuals who are now at the frontline in our fight against COVID-19, we salute your courage and heartfelt service to the nation,” De Lima said.
“Despite the risks, you remain steadfast in our fight against this dreadful virus. And despite the lack of a health system, you remain steadfast in serving those who are in need,” she added.
At least 14 individuals have already died due to COVID-19 while 187 others have reportedly confirmed to be infected, one of which is a 27-year old doctor who contracted the virus while tending to a patient who was found positive of the coronavirus.
“We will continue to pray for your health, including your family who are far from you at this time. And when the time comes you are in need, rest assured we will do our part to help,” De Lima said.
She pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 185, the bill instituting the “Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers.”
These barangay health workers, De Lima said, are also part of the government frontline services and, therefore, should also be given proper compensation and incentives for their sacrifices and tireless efforts in keeping local communities healthy.
Under the measure, De Lima said, barangay health workers will receive additional benefits, such as P6,000-worth of honorarium, compulsory PhilHealth coverage and transportation allowance, among others.
Aside from this, the lawmaker said the bill also makes barangay health workers an appointee of the municipal or city mayor, entitling them to allowances and other benefits being received by other appointed barangay officials.
She also said the measure will professionalize BHWs by requiring them to undergo accreditation and competency assessment and a mandatory continuing community-based health education every three years to ensure that they are well-equipped in addressing the health needs of around 42,000 barangays across the country.