MANILA – The government has started distributing compensation benefits to the families of health workers who have died on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, a health official said Friday.
In a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the first death compensation check was given Thursday night.
Ten families in the National Capital Region and 2 others in Davao Region were set to receive their checks Friday, she said. Other checks have been sent through the agency’s regional offices.
Official records showed 32 health workers — 26 doctors, 4 nurses and 2 non-medical staff — have succumbed while fighting COVID-19.
"Kasalukyang po naming tinutulungan ang iba pang pamilya na naulila ng 32 health care workers upang gabayan at matulungan po sila sa pagsumite ng mga dokumento na kinakailangan sa pag-claim ng benefit na ito," Vergeire said.
(We are currently helping other families of the 32 health care workers to guide them on what documents are needed in claiming the benefits.)
On Tuesday, several senators criticized the DOH for the delayed release of the benefit package after nearly 3 months since the law was passed.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in a public address Friday, slammed the delay as “totally unacceptable” and ordered the DOH to create a new team to fast-track the release of law-mandated benefits.
In response to the incident, Duque blamed his staff, saying they had no sense of urgency over the matter.
"Nakakahiya talaga, sir. Namatayan na nga tapos nagpaka warde-warde 'yung mga tao ko na parang walang sense of urgency,” the health chief said.