MANILA – Families of 29 out of 32 health workers who died of the coronavirus disease have received P1 million in compensation each, the Department of Health said Saturday as the agency came under fire over the delayed release of the law-mandated benefit.
In a Laging Handa public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the remaining 3 death compensation checks would be handed out today.
Some 26 doctors, 4 nurses and 2 non-medical staff have succumbed while fighting COVID-19, official figures showed.
The health ministry will also start distributing P100,000 to 79 health workers severely affected by the illness next week, she added.
Such compensation is mandated under the Bayanihan To Heal As One law.
During a Senate plenary session on Tuesday, some senators slammed the DOH for the supposed delayed release of the law-mandated benefits.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in a public address on Friday, said the delay was “totally unacceptable” and ordered the agency to create a new team to fast-track the release of compensation checks.
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.
He later also acknowledged responsibility through a social media post following backlash.
"While I expressed disappointment towards some members of my team, I acknowledge that this is still my responsibility as SOH (Secretary of Health)," he said.