As the COVID-19 pandemic hit thousands of healthcare workers (HCW), the Act As One partylist called on government to release early the compensation for medical frontliners infected by the disease.
Lawyer Marcelino Arias Jr., Act as One Partylist second nominee, expressed alarm over the Department of Health data indicating that more than 3,000 HCWs in public and private hospitals have been infected with COVID-19.
“And while they’re sick, they need medicines, vitamins and a lot of supplements. It’s only fair for government help them in their growing list of expenses,” said Arias.
“It’s ok if most of them are asymptomatic or suffer only from mild infections. But what if it’s severe? In these trying times, we hope government’s aid distribution is as fast as the spread of the virus,” he stressed.
Among the medical frontliners who have tested positive to COVID-19 are at least 1,100 HCWs from the Philippine General Hospital, according to the hospital spokesman.
On top of other benefits, he said medical frontliners who contract COVID-19 are entitled to compensation in the following amounts: P15,000 for mild or moderate cases, P100,000 for severe infections and P1 million in cases of death.
Arias said the compensation for HCWs is based on the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Bayanihan 1, and was continued by government as the pandemic lingered.
Under the 2022 General Appropriations Act, some P1.08 billion has been allotted for this purpose and will be available once DOH and DBM release its implementing rules on the funds.
“No amount can really compensate for the sacrifice of our gallant frontliners. But we hope government can support them in their expenses while on sickbay. We should remember that even their loved ones are at risk especially if a sick frontliner brings the virus home,” Arias said.
“Our frontliners are our soldiers in this war against an unseen enemy, and these infections put them out of commission while recovering. Sana may pakonswelo man lang para naman inspirado silang bumalik sa frontlines matapos ang kanilang laban sa COVID. ( It is hoped that they be given benefits to inspire as they return to work after their bout with COVID) ” he said.