DOH unsure where to source P1M benefit for 34th health worker who died of COVID-19

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2020 05:58 PM

DOH unsure where to source P1M benefit for 34th health worker who died of COVID-19 1
Health workers prepare medical tools before a scheduled swab testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV2) to frontliners and residents at the San Juan Elementary School Gym in San Juan City on May 12, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said it was unsure how to fund the death benefit of a health worker who died of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act had lapsed.

A village health worker from the National Capital Region had been identified as the 34th COVID-19 fatality among health workers. The death was recorded in the DOH’s Monday COVID-19 Situationer report. The last death before that was back in June 10.

“Dahil po nag-lapse na ang effectivity ng Bayanihan Law, kasalukuyan po tayong nakikipag-usap sa iba’t ibang mga ahensya ng gobyerno upang patuloy na makapagbigay ng death benefits claim sa ating mga health care worker,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing on Wednesday.

(Because the effectivity of the Bayanihan Law already lapsed, we are talking to different government agencies to be able to give death benefits for our health care workers.)

Republic Act no. 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which was enacted in March to address the COVID-19 pandemic, provides for P1 million assistance for families of health workers who died due to COVID-19 and P100,000 for health workers who became severely ill.

However, it lapsed on June 24 and has not been extended so far.

Before the law lapsed, the DOH received flak for the delay in the distribution of the said benefits, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to give them a deadline.

The DOH said it took a while to source the funds for the provision.

The benefits were finally handed over to the health workers and their families in early June.