Sotto ensures benefits for coronavirus-infected health workers in Bayanihan 2 Act

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2020 02:02 AM

Health workers extract blood samples from motorists at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center in front of the Andres Bonifacio Monument along Taft Avenue in Manila City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Mondaysaid benefits for health workers who were infected by COVID-19 will be included in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

The Senate last week passed the Bayanihan to Bayanihan 2 bill on final reading as the Philippines continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sotto told reporters in an online interview that the bicameral conference committee meeting for Bayanihan 2 will still commence even if the Senate will observe a two-week lockdown, after medical frontliners and health workers called for a “timeout” due to rising coronavirus infections.

“The issues of risk allowance, life insurance, free accommodations, free transportation, free and frequent COVID testing, and then P10,000 or P15,000 for every health worker that gets sick, additional pa sa mga nilagay natin. Yes, I assure you, we will incorporate [those] in Bayanihan 2,” Sotto said.

“At this point, the number one issue is the health of the Filipino so anything that will help, anything that will address that, we can assure you that the Senate, the leadership of the Senate will be very supportive."

Sotto clarified that the inclusion of the additional benefits for health workers will not change the P140-billion allotted budget for Bayanihan-2.

The Philippines' outstanding debt has risen to more than P9 trillion as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused the economy to contract and left at least 7.3 million jobless, with lockdowns shuttering businesses and suspending public transport.