MANILA — Ten health workers in the Philippines who were severely ill with COVID-19 have received their financial compensation as provided by law, the country's health department said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a televised briefing that 10 checks each worth P100,000 for the initial validated beneficiaries have already been released.
“Para naman po sa mga severe cases na makakatanggap ng P100,000, 10 checks, mula sa initial 42 cases, ang natanggap na ng mga health care workers,” Vergeire said.
(For the severe cases who will receive P100,000, 10 checks from the initial 42 cases have received their checks.)
She said four more checks were being processed, while complete document for 10 others are being awaited.
The Department of Health has yet to respond to media on whether Vergeire’s quote meant that only 24 health workers qualified for the benefit for severe cases.
Initially, the DOH said that their tally includes 60 health workers who were severely ill, and 19 were were in critical condition.
However, the number has decreased as the DOH claimed that some only had mild symptoms.
“Ang mga iba ay napag-alaman natin, batay sa kanilang medical abstract, na hindi pa sila severe cases, kaya hindi po sila eligible to receive the benefits,” Vergeire said.
(We learned that the others, based on their medical abstracts, are not severe cases, so they are not eligible to receive benefits.)
Meanwhile, majority of the families of health workers who died due to COVID-19 have already received their checks for P1 million each. All checks for 32 beneficiaries have already been prepared.
“Of the total, 26 had been received by their families while 4 have final pending documents such as special power of attorneys (SPAs) before they can receive the checks,” Vergeire said.
Vergeire said there are two families who are living abroad and are still trying to settle who will receive the checks in their behalf.
The P1 million benefit is in accordance with Section 4F of Republic Act no. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which states that public and private health workers who die or become severely ill with COVID-19 will receive compensation. Those who become severely ill will receive P100,000.
The DOH has received flak for the delay in the disbursement of the benefits. It explained that the agency needed time to identify the source of the funds.
The Bayanihan to Health As One Act was approved in March.
President Rodrigo Duterte expressed disappointment over the delay, prompting him to appoint a hospital official from Mindanao as a Health Undersecretary for Special Concerns.