MANILA - Senate Committee on Finance chair Sen. Sonny Angara on Tuesday said medical frontliners would continue to receive benefits under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) even after the spending law expires by mid-2021.
The Bayanihan 2 is set to expire in about 2 months, but Congress remains on break and has yet to craft a new measure that would extend the validity of the Philippines' second COVID-19 aid and response package.
"The intent of Congress is clear for the compensation to continue even after the expiration of Bayanihan 2 on June 30, 2021," Angara said in a statement.
"This was agreed upon by both the Senate and the House of Representatives during our bicam meetings on the measure," he said.
Under Bayanihan 2, health workers who contract COVID-19 are entitled to receive P15,000 for mild and moderate cases, while medical frontliners deemed to be severe or critical cases are entitled to P100,000.
Under the same law, the government should give P1 million to families of medical workers who have succumbed to COVID-19.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that as of March 15, 7,963 health workers who contracted COVID-19 have been compensated, Angara said.
"It is clear that our health workers should continue to receive these benefits for as long as we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
In February, Malacañang said a quarter of the funds under the Bayanihan 2 has yet to be utilized.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has urged the executive branch to call for a special session so that Congress can work on a "special budget" to augment the government's funds for COVID-19 response amid a surge in cases.