Senator criticises delayed assistance for frontliners
June 06 2020 12:16 AM
Christopher Go:
Christopher Go: berating officials

By Javier J Ismael /Manila Times

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has slammed officials and personnel behind the delayed release of legal compensation to frontliners who got sick with or died of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), daring them to leave their jobs.
In a strongly worded privilege speech, Go demanded the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Labour and Employment co-ordinate for the speedy release of compensation for virus-stricken frontliners.
The chairman of the Senate health and demography committee said he was dismayed by the conflicting statements of the DBM and DoH. “One said guidelines are needed before funds could be released. But the DoH said there is no need,” he lamented.
“The president may not know that you are working without focus. Now that the problem has been exposed to the public, you should issue a joint declaration that you should implement the things you should have done,” the senator said.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act enacted on March 24, the government will provide P100,000 compensation to public and private health workers who get infected with Covid-19 in the line of duty, and P1mn will be given to those who die fighting the pandemic.
“If you refuse to work, you better leave.
The president is doing everything but his subordinates refused to help, refused to move, you better leave,” Go fumed.
Senators learned that no benefits for health workers have been released.
“Thirty-two health workers have died, hundreds have been infected, thousands of families have been affected.
You are making their lives difficult because the extension of assistance is slowed down by red tape,” Go said. “April and May have passed. Now, it is June. Why has the financial assistance to the frontliners not given yet?” he asked.
“Wake up. Are you feigning sleep or death?” he added.
“Our health workers are doing one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs against an unseen enemy — a sickness (that) until now has no cure.
They have paid the ultimate price — their lives — so that the rest of their countrymen and women will continue to live,” he pointed out. “I call upon the concerned agencies to remedy this immediately and release the rightful compensation for our health workers who have died of and have been infected by Covid-19, as provided by law. Show some compassion.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has said a new provision of the Senate version of the bill extending the validity of the Bayanihan Act requires payment of compensation to health workers not later than 90 days after their confinement or death.
Recto said senators have amended the law to speed up the release of the cash aid and make it tax-exempt.
“We are imposing a deadline. Its release should not be at the mercy of red tape,” he said.
“Cash rewards granted to bemedalled athletes are free from tax, what more for those who sacrificed their lives?”
President Rodrigo Duterte gave health authorities until June 9, to compensate all health workers who died battling the coronavirus disease, Malacanang said. Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr said Duterte was “furious” over the delay in the release of the compensation benefits for health workers.
“The president is giving only until Tuesday for those in charge of giving the compensation for health workers who got sick with Covid-19 in the line of duty and to the families of the health workers who died,” Roque said.



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