House panel approves measures commending healthcare workers

Published July 15, 2020, 2:46 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC) on Wednesday approved through its Health and COVID-19 Response Cluster a series of House resolutions expressing the chamber’s profound gratitude to all healthcare workers and frontliners for their efforts during the pandemic.


Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez made the motion three hours into discussion of the cluster which was co-chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin.

“I move that the committee approve all House resolutions and come up with one consolidated resolution commending and expressing the highest appreciation of the House of Representatives to all health care workers and frontliners for their commitment and heroism during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hernandez said.

She also moved during the virtual hearing that all current 301 members of the House of Representatives should be made co-authors of the eventual consolidated measure.

Citing the huge contributions and sacrifices that health care workers have done amid the pandemic, she said that “it’s just right” to include all congressmen as co-authors. Both motions were carried as nobody posed objections.

One of those approved was Tan’s House Resolution (HR) No.878, which “expresses the highest appreciation and profound gratitude of the House of Representatives to all healthcare workers and frontliners who courageously unselfishly rendered their services to the Filipino nation in its fight against COVID-19.”

Also approved by virtue of Hernandez’s motion were HR Nos. 836, 843, 893, 894, 895, and 932.

“We’re still in the process of adjusting to the ‘new normal’ brought about by this unprecedented health crisis that challenged all governments and peoples of the world. The frontliners and health workers have been at the forefront in this battle, risking their lives in the call of duty to ensure the safety of everyone and the availability of supplies for all those affected,” noted another author of the resolutions — Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo.

Meanwhile, the DCC cluster also formed during the hearing a Technical Working Group (TWG) that would harmonize at least nine House bills seeking to provide hazard pay, special protection, and other benefits to medical frontliners during public health emergencies.

“First, we need to determine ‘yung direction natin (we need to determine our policy direction)…we need to consolidate the different bills,” Tan said upon approving the motion to create the TWG. Garin, a former Department of Health (DoH) secretary, was made the TWG chairperson.

Maristela Abejonar of the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) underscored just how dangerous their profession has become in the time of COVID-19.

“Last July 5, 2020, the DoH reported that 3,513 health workers have been infected with COVID-19 and 34 of them died. Majority of them were nurses providing direct patient care on a 24/7 duty,” she said.

“The Filipino Nurses United strongly agrees that nurses and all frontline health workers deserve just benefits and compensation for performing their duties and tasks in saving lives of thousands of patients at the needs of national states of calamity, public health emergencies, epidemics, and pandemics like current COVID-19,” Abejonar told the House panel.