Families of 29 out of the 32 fallen health workers receive P1M-death benefit each

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The families of 29 out of the 32 health workers who died of COVID-19 have received P1 million each in health benefits, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and the DOH earlier came under fire over the delayed release of the law-mandated benefit.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the remaining three death compensation checks would be handed out Saturday.

Some 26 doctors, 4 nurses and 2 non-medical staff have succumbed while fighting COVID-19, official figures showed.

The DOH will also start distributing P100,000 to 79 health workers severely affected COVID-19 by next week, she said.

Such compensation is mandated under the Bayanihan To Heal As One law.

During a Senate plenary session on Tuesday, some senators slammed Duque and 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 nagpakawardi-wardi ‘yung mga tao ko na parang walang sense of urgency,” the health chief said.

Duque 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),”  Duque said./Stacy Ang

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