The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday vowed to give the necessary assistance and benefits to all health workers who are fighting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The department issued the statement after reports came out that the hazard pay of a nurse from Cainta, Rizal, who died because of COVID-19, was reduced.
“We hold our health workers in the highest regard, and we will extend all the needed assistance to protect those who risk their safety to protect others,” said the DOH in a statement.
“We are committed to bringing the welfare of our healthcare workers to the fore, which is why we lobbied for renewed benefit packages under the Bayanihan Act II. We will continue to proactively communicate the benefits our health workers are entitled to,” it added.
The DOH said it is coordinating with the Department of Interior and Local Government to “ensure that LGU hospitals adhere to our guidelines, which, from the beginning have placed primacy on caring for our healthcare workers by ensuring the provision of appropriate care, testing, and timely payments.”
The DOH also expressed its condolences to the family of the fallen healthcare worker.
“We extend our most sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Ma. Theresa Cruz. As a brave nurse in the frontlines, she was instrumental in our COVID-19 response and we are grateful for her selfless dedication and service she has rendered for over a decade,” the DOH said.
“We have reached out to the bereaved family and are in communication with Ms. Joie Cruz, the daughter of Mrs. Cruz,” it added.
In a Facebook post, Joie Cruz wrote that her “mother died before she even got her hazard pay.”
“She and her co-workers were expecting about PHP 30,000 plus for their COVID hazard pay, based on the DOH announcement of PHP500 per day for frontliners,” said Cruz.
She then went to her mother’s workplace to process some documents and claim the necessary benefits.
“I was told that her COVID hazard pay is already available. Instead of the expected PHP30,000 plus, what I received was PHP7,000,” said Cruz.
“Apparently, the COVID hazard pay of the nurses in their public hospital has been reduced to just PHP 150 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 a freaking PHP 64.18 ($ 1.31) per day for her COVID hazard pay for 41 days,” she added.