MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday lamented as “unacceptable” the delay in properly compensating the families of medical front-liners who have died in the government’s fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“Halos tatlong buwan na ang nakalipas mula ng ipinasa ang Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Pinaghirapan nating maipasa iyon. Nagtiwala kaming mga mambabatas na magagawa ng mga ahensya ang lahat ng kanilang makakaya within that limited period that the law is in effect. Ngayon na pinag-uusapan na ng lehislatibo ang panukalang Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, hindi katanggap tanggap ‘yung mga dapat naibigay noon ay hindi pa rin naibibigay ngayon,” Go said in a statement.
(It’s been almost three months since the Bayanihan to heal as One Act had been passed. We worked hard to pass it. Lawmakers trusted the concerned agencies to do their best within the limited period that the law is in effect. Now that the legislature is discussing the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, it is unacceptable that compensations that should have been given before have not yet been given.)
“Seriously neglecting to do your job for the people who paid with their own lives is a dishonor to their memory and sacrifices for our country,” he added.
Go issued the statement after learning that the families of 32 health workers who have died while in the line of duty have yet to receive compensation mandated by law due to the lack of implementing guidelines.
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last March 24. following marathon discussions in the Senate. The law takes effect until Sept.30, 2020.
Under Sec 4(f) of the Act, compensation worth PHP100,000 shall be given to public and private health workers who may contract severe Covid-19 infection while in the line of duty.
The same section also provides that compensation worth PHP1 million shall be given to public and private health workers who may die while fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health and member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the implementation of RA 11469, Go urged the concerned agencies to immediately remedy the situation and “release the rightful compensation” for the health workers who have “paid the ultimate price” in the battle against Covid-19.
“Malinaw ang batas na dapat may makukuhang compensation ang health workers na nagkasakit o namatay dahil sa Covid-19. Si Pangulong Duterte rin mismo ang nagsabi na dapat mabigyan ng karampatang suporta ang ating health workers at ang kanilang mga pamilyang naulila. Kaya dapat na ibigay ang dapat ibigay. Huwag nating hayaan na mabalewala ang layuning ito dahil natagalan ang proseso,” he said.
(The law clearly states that health workers who have been infected or died of Covid-19 will receive compensation. President Duterte himself said that health workers, and their bereaved families, should be given proper support. Let’s not permit this objective to go to waste due to delayed process.)
Senator Panfilo Lacson echoed Go’s pronouncements.
“It is totally unacceptable that the families of the 32 health workers who died due to Covid-19 have yet to receive the PHP1-million compensation, in clear violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” he said in a separate statement.
“The PHP1-million compensation is the least the government owes the families of these 32 fallen heroes. It’s in the law. The lack or absence of implementing rules and regulations should not be an excuse not to comply with the law,” Lacson said. (PNA)