MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday lambasted the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the delayed distribution of cash benefits to health workers who have died of, or infected with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
In a privilege speech, Go said he was dismayed over the conflicting statements coming from the concerned agencies on the implementing guidelines of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that resulted in the delayed distribution of the compensation due to affected health workers.
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469), which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last March 24, provides for a PHP100,000 compensation 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.
“Bakit po nangyari ito? Dumaan ang Abril, dumaan ang Mayo, ngayon Hunyo na. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa naibibigay ang benepisyo na dapat matanggap ng ating health workers o ng kanilang mga pamilyang naulila.. Bakit matagal? O sadya bang pinapatagal? Wala bang gumagalaw sa inyo?,” the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography said.
(Why did this happen? April, May have passed and now it’s already June. Up to now the benefits due to our health workers or their bereaved families have not yet been released… Why is it prolonged? Or is it deliberately prolonged? Does nobody act from you?)
“Hoy DBM, DOH, at pati na rin DOLE! Mag-usap-usap naman kayo at mag-coordinate kayo sa isa’t isa. Marahil hindi po alam ng Pangulo, patay-patayan kayo. Ngayon na na-expose na sa publiko ang problema, mag-i-issue kayo ng joint issuance para i-implement ang isang bagay na noon pa ninyo dapat ginawa,” he said.
(DBM, DOH, and even DOLE, listen! Talk and coordinate with each other. Maybe the President does not know that you are laggards. Now that the problem had been publicly exposed, you will issue a joint issuance to implement something that you should have implemented long ago.)
Go also prodded officials of the said departments, from Undersecretaries down to the Directors, to assist their respective Secretaries in accomplishing their mandates.
“Gumising naman kayo. Nagtutulug-tulugan ba kayo? O nagpapatay-patayan kayo? O talagang patay na kayo (Wake up. Are you pretending to be asleep? Or are you playing dead? Or you are already dead)?” he said.
The administration lawmaker stressed that money is not enough to compensate for the heroism of the health workers who are sacrificing everything, even their own lives, to save the lives of every Filipino.
He said the least that the government could do to repay their heroism is efficient service, and if anyone is not up to the task, then they might as well leave the service.
“Kung ayaw nyong mag-trabaho, eh ‘di umalis na kayo. Ginagawa na nga ng Pangulo ang lahat, eh ang mga tao sa baba ayaw tumulong, ayaw gumalaw, umalis na kayo (If you don’t want to work, then you should leave. The President is doing his best, but the people in the lower ranks, if you don’t want to help, don’t want to act, you should leave),” Go said.
“Huwag naman sana, kung kayo kaya ang mamatayan at pahirapan pa ang pagbigay ng tulong sa inyo tulad ng ginagawa ninyo sa mga Pilipinong apektado, ewan ko nalang kung hindi kayo mamatay sa sama ng loob (God forbid, but If you are the ones who would lose a loved one, and would be given a difficult time in getting help like what you’re doing to affected Filipinos, I wouldn’t be surprised if you will die of righteous indignation.)
Go called upon the concerned agencies to remedy the situation immediately and release the “rightful compensation” for the health workers who have died of and have been infected by Covid-19, as provided by law.
“Maawa naman kayo (Have pity),” he said. (PNA)