The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) believes that health workers are the backbone of the country's healthcare system, and everybody needs to stand behind them and make a "strategic investment" in fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said that ensuring people's access to health and upholding the welfare of frontline workers are the key to defeating this national health emergency.
"The current pandemic has put the country’s health system under pressure and stretched its capacity beyond what it can truly sustain," she said. "Like in other societies, COVID-19 has exposed the critical gaps in healthcare services which can have a long-term impact on the overall health and well-being of the population if left unaddressed and disregarded."
This is why the CHR is backing the pending legislation from both the Senate and Congress, which would push for concrete measures on how to support, manage, and protect the medical professionals in our country.
"With the recent passage of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, we welcome provisions that heed the plea of our healthcare workers including the expansion of government hospital capacity, additional isolation and quarantine facilities, adequate supply of protective equipment, among others," said de Guia.
The said measure will also allocate budget for COVID-19 special risk allowance, compensation for those who get infected by the virus, and provision of meals, transportation, and temporary accommodation of our front liners.
The proposed policy also sought to penalize all kinds of abuse and harassment against health care workers.
"The Commission reiterates that the health sector cannot hold the line for much longer if no adequate and responsive measures will alleviate the challenging situation of our health care workers," stressed de Guia. "In the end, winning the fight against COVID-19 relies heavily on being able to capacitate our best assets in addressing the medical needs of all Filipinos."
De Guia warned that if the country's health system collapses, it is ultimately the poor and the vulnerable sectors of society who will be compromised.