A P1-million death benefit is assured the family of a health care who dies in the line of duty under a bill filed in the House of Representatives.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas filed House Bill 10331 or the Allowances and Benefits for Health Care Workers Act as he batted for more allowances and benefits for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The just compensation of P1 million is among the main provisions of HB 10331.
The bill also sets additional benefits of P100,000 in case of severe COVID-19 sickness, and P15,000 in case of mild or moderate COVID-19 infection.
“Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, health care workers have been at the vanguard of protecting the health and welfare of the general public as they risk their lives to serve and provide care especially for COVID-19 infected patients,” Vargas said in the bill’s explanatory note.
He said while added benefits are already provided by law, there is a need “to augment and strengthen these efforts and to properly recognize and compensate our heroes.” “It is imperative to increase the benefits and allowances that our health care workers receive during this public health crisis,” he added.
The Vargas bill also sets a fixed monthly COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance for every month served during the state of national emergency in addition to the hazard pay granted under Republic Act No. 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers.
The bill also gives health care workers monthly Active Hazard Duty Pay, and in case of exposure to COVID-19 or any work-related injury or disease, full coverage for all medical expenses by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).
The bill also extends life insurance, accommodation, transportation, and meals, or their cash equivalent, to health workers on active duty during the pandemic.
The benefits under the Vargas bill “shall have retroactive application from July 1, 2021, and shall be exempt from income tax.” The added allowances and benefits cover all healthcare workers “who are engaged in health and health related work in health facilities during the state of public health emergency due to the COVID- 19 pandemic.”
The bill defines health care workers as “medical, allied health professional, administrative and support personnel, employed regardless of their employment status.”
“It is the hope of this measure to provide better working conditions and benefits for health care workers in the country that would cater to their needs and welfare which would in turn inspire and encourage them to serve in the country in the long run,” Vargas said.