By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto asked on Friday the government to ease the requirements for the release of the compensation for health workers who died or contracted severe COVID-19.
In a statement, Recto lamented the numerous documents that the Department of Health (DOH) and other concerned agencies are requiring from health workers or their families to claim the indemnities mandated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
He cited the eight-page joint administrative order (JAO) signed by the secretaries of the DOH, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on June 4, 2020, which enumerated the guidelines, process, and requirements in the issuance of the P1-million indemnity to deceased health workers, and the P100,000 sickness benefit for those who suffered severe coronavirus infection.
“The loved ones of our heroes who died fighting COVID-19 will have a hard time compiling the documents they must submit before the cash aid is released to them,” Recto said.
The Senate leader that many offices that issue the required documents are either closed or still operating under shortened hours and run by a skeleton staff.
“And if getting these requires crossing local governments under different quarantine levels and rules, it makes the job harder for grieving families,” he added.
Aside from these, he said the release of the compensation could further be delayed by the bureaucracy in the processing the claims and the payment.
Recto proposed that the government immediately release 70 percent of the amount based on acceptable information that attests to the death of the sickness of the health worker.
The balance could be released upon the submission and completion of the requirements, he said.
The senator also appealed to the government to reduce the number of requirements and offer assistance in securing them from the appropriate agencies.
“We understand that the DOH has to observe accounting and audit rules. Relaxing these is an act of compassion that the surviving loved ones fully deserve,” Recto said.
Under the JAO No. 2020-0001, health workers who contracted severe COVID-19 and recovered from it shall submit the following requirements to get their P100,000 compensation:
- Original copy of an Updated Service Record or Certificate of Employment
- Original copy of Medical Abstract signed by the attending physician
- Photocopy of any two valid government-issued IDs (Passport, driver’s license, GSIS or SSS UMID, PhilHealth, Postal, PRC, Sr. Citizen’s and OFW ID)
Meanwhile, the requirements for P1-million compensation for the deceased health workers varied based on their civil status and their relation to their surviving dependents or beneficiaries.
But these include: original copy of death certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) or PSA-authenticated death certificate issued by local government units, copies of government-issued IDs, and other documents such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, and proof of guardianship.
Another requirement for public health workers assigned at the LGUs, is a certification from the province, city and municipality health office.