Senators slam DOH for failure to compensate health workers involved in battling COVID-19

Published June 3, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

 

Senators have crossed party lines in expressing disappointment over the failure of the Department of Health (DOH) to act on the compensation of health workers afflicted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or who died while helping in the fight against dreaded disease.

Sen. Sonny Angara (Senate of the Philippines/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Sonny Angara
(Senate of the Philippines/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

During the plenary debates on Senate Bill 1564, the proposed Bayanihan To Recover as One Act, at the Senate session hall, it was revealed that there have been no claims for compensation for health workers under Republic Act (RA) 11469 because the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for this provision has not been crafted.

Senator Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, aired his frustration over the report of the DOH on the availment of the compensation.

“We are told that because there is no IRR, no one has been able to avail of it,” Angara said, quoting DOH officials who attended the Senate’s plenary debates.

“I’m very disappointed to hear the response from the DOH. The Senate labored, burned the midnight oil to pass Bayanihan One. It’s quite upsetting to find out that so many months have gone without the DOH crafting the IRR here. So many health workers have suffered, whether they have died or have been severely afflicted with the COVID virus. Again, it’s very upsetting,” he stressed.

“It’s really criminal, this neglect to pass this (IRR); to delay these types of benefits. We keep praising them as our heroes but it’s mere lip service if we don’t give them anything material,” he added.

Before this, Sen. Richard Gordon inquired about the updates on the implementation of RA 11469’s Section 4(f), which mandates a P100,000 compensation for health workers who contract severe COVID-19 and P1 million for those who died due to the virus.

It was Gordon who proposed the provision under the law, which has retroactive application starting February 1, 2020.

The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, signed into law last March 24, will expire on June 24.

Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine Red Cross, said 32 health workers have died due to COVID-19 while over 2,600 were infected.

Of the total number of infections, 1,172 are active cases, while two are “severely ill”.

“That’s a serious neglect. We should call the attention of whoever shall provide this because 32 have died and 2 severely sick that should be given some support,” Gordon said.

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee, said it is totally unacceptable that the families of the 32 health workers who died due to COVID19 have yet to receive the P1-million compensation, in clear violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

“It is not just the P1-million death compensation allowance which has retroactive application from Feb. 1, 2020 that is mandated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” he explained.

“It is not just the P1-million death compensation allowance which has retroactive application from Feb. 1, 2020 that is mandated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” he explained.

He cited the following benefits, under Sec. 4 (d, e, f):

1. Special Risk Allowance to government health workers;

2. Free medical expenses to public and private health workers;

3. P100,000 allowance to public and private health workers who get infected with the coronavirus in the line of duty.

 
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