President Duterte on Sunday night approved the recommendation of the National Task Force (NTF) against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to give P10,000 to P15,000 each to health care workers with mild infection to help them with their medication.
NTF Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez made the proposal during a special meeting called by Duterte to address the concerns raised by the medical community to tighten the community quarantine in Mega Manila amid the record-breaking surge of infections.
According to Galvez, the financial aid shall somehow ease the predicament of health care workers who got infected while in the line of duty.
“We found out that [for] those who are affected by COVID, there is some sort of psychological impact on our health care workers,” Galvez said.
Galvez pointed out that under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (Bayanihan 1), the government has given P1 million each to the families of health care workers who died, and P100,000 each to those who were severely sick.
“But for those mild who are also hospitalized and also having the anguish, we recommend sir na mabigyan sila ng kahit (to give them) P10,000. Almost 5,000 ‘yong naging positive natin (We almost have 5,000 COVID-positive [health care workers]),” Galvez said.
“May emotional breakdown ang isang… especially ‘yong health care worker na he even exposed himself to the danger and later he will be discriminated. That anguish parang hindi natin maano. They spend din money for their own medicine. It is proper lang na mabigyan natin kahit konti sir, (An emotionl breakdown is likely to happen especially to a health care worker who exposed himself to the danger and later he will be discriminated. That anguish, we cannot [take it]. They spend their own money too for their own medicine. It is but proper to give them even just a little),” he added.
Duterte then replied: “I agree with you. [Make it] even P15,000.”
Aside from the monetary assistance, Duterte also agreed to give health care workers additional benefits such as risk allowance, life insurance, free accommodation, free transportation, and free testing.
On Sunday, various medical societies appealed to the government to reimpose stricter community quarantine status in Metro Manila and its nearby regions to control the surge of infections and prevent the collapse of the health care system.
“Pagod na pagod na po kami, hindi lang physically but mentally as well. Marami sa amin ang nagkakasakit na ng COVID-19 (We are exhausted, not only physically but mentally as well. A lot of us have fallen ill),” said Philippine College of Physicians Vice President Encarnita Limpin.
The Department of Health reported 5,032 new cases on Sunday, a record-high, which brought the total number of cases to 103,185. There were also 65,557 recoveries (301 new) and 2,059 deaths (20 for the day).
During the special meeting, Duterte approved the recommendation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to revert Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal to modified enhance community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to 18.