Cainta officials asked to explain deduction in hazard pay of nurse who died from COVID-19

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday vowed to investigate allegations surrounding the reduction and delay of a Cainta Municipal Hospital health worker's hazard pay.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the department will inquire why the Cainta Municipal government “reduced the hazard pay of nurse Maria Theresa Cruz’’ and why the municipal government delayed its release.

The DILG also wants to know why they allegedly refused to give her a swab test after she had close contact with a COVID patient.

Cruz died on July 22 from symptoms linked to COVID-19.

It was only two days after her death that the result of her swab test as conducted in a private hospital came out.

In a viral social media post, the nurse’s daughter, Joie Cruz, complained that instead of the more than P30,000 they expected, the Cainta LGU supposedly gave them over P7,000 only.

“Apparently, the COVID hazard pay of the nurses in their public hospital has been reduced to just P150 per day and on top of it were deductions that were not even properly explained by the hospital administration. In the end, it appears my mom was only given P64.18 per day for her COVID hazard pay for 41 days,” the younger Cruz said in her post.

Malaya said the Cruz family already received the Special Risk Allowance under the Bayanihan Act which corresponded to the maximum of 25 percent of her monthly salary.

However, Malaya noted it remained still unclear why the LGU reduced her hazard pay from P500 to P64.18 per day.

“Cainta is a first class municipality so I see no reason why it could not afford to pay the P500/day hazard pay granted to all health workers during this global pandemic,” Malaya said.

Malaya added the DILG together with the DOH will ensure that her family receives the one million compensation for health workers who died in the line of duty provided in the Bayanihan Act.

“Sec. Duque has assured us that they will expeditiously process the compensation upon submission of the family of the application and requirements,” he said.

“We will ensure that her family receives all the benefits provided under the law. This is the least we can do to honor her service to the Municipality of Cainta where she worked in its LGU-run public hospital for more than 10 years - the first four years of those without any salary,” he added.

Malaya also asked why an official supposedly cursed at the deceased after her daughter commented on a local politician's post last March on the conditions at the Cainta Municipal Hospital.

“We have to take care of our health workers because they are the ones who take care of us. Without them, we lose the war against COVID-19. Therefore, we will investigate and determine who should be held accountable,” he said.