MANILA – Does it take for a President (Duterte) and a Senator (Bong Go) for the Department of Health to finally act on the compensations of fallen healthcare workers?
So, it seems.
This, as the Department of Health (DOH) finally processed and released 29 checks for the surviving kin of healthcare workers who died of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) while in the line of duty, a Health official said on Saturday.
“Naibigay na po ang tseke sa 29 na heirs, tatlo nalang po ang gagawin natin ngayon araw para makumpleto ang ating listahan at maibigay ang benepisyo (We have already released the checks for 29 heirs, we only have three to process today to complete the list and finally give the benefit),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a Laging Handa briefing.
It may be recalled President Duterte lambasted health officials on Thursday over the undue delay on releasing the benefits even as Senator Bong Go also delivered a privilege speech on June 4 assailing Secretary Francisco Duque and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on similar issue.
Vergeire said DOH is also processing the PHP100,000-cash aid for the virus-hit healthcare workers who are in severe or critical condition.
“Our database of 79 workers has been set in order and maybe in the coming days we will be able to give the compensation,” she said.
In a tweet Friday, Duque acknowledged his responsibility for the delayed compensation for Covid-19-hit front-liners.
“While I expressed disappointment towards some members of my team, I acknowledge that this is still my responsibility as SOH (Secretary of Health). I will make sure that we comply with the ‘Bayanihan to Heal As One Act’, with proper documentation and identification of HCW (healthcare workers),” he said.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, health workers infected by the Covid-19 starting February 1 are entitled to a compensation of PHP100,000 while the kin of those who will die of the disease shall receive PHP1 million.
‘More testing labs’
On Covid-19 response, Vergeire also reported that DOH is looking at accrediting about 58 laboratories by mid-July 2020.
There are 52 laboratories so far licensed to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus strain causing the Covid-19. And of these laboratories, 40 can use reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests while the remaining 12 are using the alternative GeneXpert technology.
“We’re still looking at licensing around 58 laboratories hopefully for this month of June and maybe the second week of July to expand our capacity,” she said in Filipino. (ia/PNA)