Families of 32 fallen health workers to each receive P1-M death benefit

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Families of the 32 fallen health workers in the Philippines will each soon receive a P1 million death benefit, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.

According to a statement from the DOH, Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an had expressed that the families of the 32 fallen health workers had already been informed.

“(As) per USec Tong-An, we’ve contacted all 32 families. We are processing the checks and working out the necessary documents they need to submit to avail the benefits,” the DOH said in a statement Thursday.

Under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, public and private health workers who contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty will receive a compensation of P100,000 and those who die “while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic” will be compensated with P1 million.

As of Thursday morning, the DOH said the number of health workers who died due to COVID-19 remains at 32.

They are 4 nurses, 26 were doctors and 2 non-medical staff.

As of Thursday, the DOH said there are 60 health workers who were severely ill with COVID-19 and another 19 who were considered critical cases.

Earlier this week, several senators expressed dismay upon learning that not a single health worker affected with severe COVID-19 has been able to receive the sickness and death benefit that was indicated in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act due to lack of implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Section 4 (f) of the Bayanihan Law states that public and private health workers who would contract severe COVID-19 must receive a P100,000 compensation from the government. A death benefit of P1 million must also be provided to those who will die due to COVID-19 in line of their duty.

The provision has a retroactive application from February 1, 2020.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also wrote a strongly-worded letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, following up on the implementation of the said provision.

“A law’s effectivity does not and cannot rely on the IRR’s existence or nonexistence, especially if the provisions of the law is clear and categorical,” Sotto said.

“Assuming arguendo that an IRR is indispensable in the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, particularly on the grant of compensation to affected health workers or their families, then what hindered your office to draft and approve the said IRR in the past two months?” he added./Stacy Ang

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