President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday agreed with the recommendation that a P10,000 to P15,000 sickness benefit be provided to all healthcare workers infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a televised briefing in Malacañang, Chief Implementer of the government’s COVID-19 response Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. recommended that Duterte approve the sickness benefit to all health workers with COVID-19, regardless of their condition.
“There is some sort of psychological impact on our health workers,” Galvez explained. “We recommend na mabigyan sila kahit P10,000. Almost 5,000 ‘yung naging positive. Kasi ‘yung fear nila to be afflicted parang nagkakaroon sila ng discrimination.”
“I agree with you. Even 15 [thousand],” Duterte responded.
Under the first Bayanihan Law, only severe cases of COVID-19 among health workers were entitled to a P100,000 sickness benefit.
A total of 5,008 health workers have contracted COVID-19 as of Saturday, 4,576 of whom have recovered while 38 have died, according to the Department of Health.
At the same briefing, Health Secretary laid out other recommendations:
- the additional hiring of healthcare workers and the creation of a "healthcare worker reserve";
- free life insurance under the Bayanihan 2 law, as well as free transportation and accommodations and free and frequent testing;
- the issuance of work and quarantine passes to cut down on the number of people going out;
- localized lockdowns
- the intensification of the strict enforcement of health guidelines and the issuance of two million cloth masks to the poor;
- the use of RT/PCR testing as the "gold standard" in detecting the virus; and
- placing Metro Manila and certain nearby provinces under a modified enhanced community quarantine for two weeks.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, all of the above recommendations were approved.
The government granted a two-week MECQ for Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal beginning Tuesday, August 4.
The hiring of additional health workers was also approved, "including the hiring of 10,000 medical professional, and the calling to active duty and enlistment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines," Roque added. — DVM/BM, GMA News