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P31-M death benefit released for health workers who died of COVID-19 —DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) has released the P1 million death benefit of 31 health workers in the country who succumbed to COVID-19, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.

In an online forum, Vergeire said the deaths of 22 more are still being evaluated.

Meanwhile, 36 healthcare workers who suffered from severe and critical COVID-19 have also received their benefits in checks amounting to P100,000 each.

"Mayroon pa tayong additional na 53 na ine-evaluate pa rin ang kanilang mga dokumento ngayon just to verify their outcomes," she added.

The sickness and death benefits were mandated by the now-expired Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Its second version, the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,
which is awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte's signature, also provides for P15,000 sickness benefit for health workers with mild and moderate COVID-19.

Based on latest data from the DOH, there are 40 confirmed COVID-19 deaths among health workers in the Philippines.

Vergeire said 65% of them were doctors. Their old age and presence of co-morbidities were factors.

"Although nurses are more infected, the doctors have a higher number doon sa mga namamatay. Twenty-six sila out of the 40 [deaths] we have in our system," she said.

"Most of those who died, they have co-morbidities and they are part of the 60 to 69 age group," she added.

Meanwhile, the DOH's hiring of health workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. So far, it has hired a total of 7,847 out of the total 10,473 approved slots for the emergency hiring program.

"Sa span ng how many days na nakalipas mayroon naman tayong nakuhang 700 plus na additional health care workers," Vergeire said, noting that the figure was up from 7,139 on August 15.

These additional warm bodies were deployed to 362 health facilities in the country, she added. —KBK, GMA News