MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it has written a letter to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to convert packed meals into cash for medical frontliners in the country.
Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), medical frontliners are entitled to received several benefits including additional compensation, accommodations, transportation, and meals.
"Mayroon din tayong sulat sa DBM... na kung puwede i-convert yung meals to cash," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told state television PTV.
(We have a letter to the DBM asking them to convert meals into cash.)
Duque did not mention how much medical frontliners would receive in exchange for the meals, but noted the the DOH is also trying to extend their benefits.
"Mayroon na tayong mga nakalap na savings na puwedeng ma-extend pa yung panahon ng pagbibigay ng benipisyo," he said, without disclosing until when the benefits would be given.
(We found some savings that can be used to extend the period of providing benefits.)
The Bayanihan 2 is set to expire next month.
Sen. Sonny Angara, who heralded the passage of the Bayanihan 2 in the Senate last year, 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.
Aside from meals, the law guarantees that medical frontliners 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.