Bayanihan 2 law to boost support for health workers, says Galvez

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on Monday expressed optimism that support for the health workers will be sustained under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One (Bayanihan 2) Act.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a Laging Handa virtual briefing on Monday, Galvez said there were some P10 million alloted for testing while P17 million were allocated for contact tracing under the Bayanihan 2.

"Mayroon din nailaan sa mga estratehiya sa National Action Plan (NAP) sa COVID-19. Ang isang nakita natin, dapat makita natin 'yung continuous support sa health workers (There were also some funds for the strategies in the National Action Plan on COVID-19. One thing that we should pursue is the need for continuous support to our health workers)," he said.

Some hospitals raised concern about the shortage of medical supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits especially with the surge of new cases in recent weeks.

According to Galvez, there remains a need to procure medical supplies and equipment to combat the threat of the disease, thus, the need for a sufficient budget.

"Ang pagbili ng PPEs tuluy-tuloy po 'yun at mumurahing test kits na maari nating gamitin (The procurement of personal protective equipment should be sustained, as well as cheap test kits that we can use)," he said.

There were also claims that some contractual workers and contact tracers of the Department of Health (DOH) in quarantine facilities were not receiving their salaries.

"Titignan po natin 'yun (We'll look into that)," Galvez said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III has expressed confidence that the Bayanihan 2 Act will be passed after the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte on July 27.

The Bayanihan 2 Act is the second version of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act or Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan 1) which granted Duterte additional powers to reallocate portions of the 2019 and 2020 funds in the national government's pandemic response. The Bayanihan 1 lapsed on June 24.

The Bayanihan 2 Act was supposed to be passed by the Congress last month but it failed to hurdle the third reading in the Senate before it adjourned. It was not certified as urgent by Duterte.