Tag: Bayanihan to Heal As One

On the Non-Compensation of 32 Frontliners Who Died Battling COVID-19

It is totally unacceptable that the families of the 32 health workers who died due to COVID-19 have yet to receive the P1-million compensation, in clear violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The P1-million compensation is the least the government owes the families of these 32 fallen heroes. It’s in the law. The lack or absence of implementing rules and regulations should not be an excuse not to comply with the law.

It is not just the P1-million death compensation allowance which has retroactive application from Feb. 1, 2020 that is mandated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. So are the following benefits, under Sec. 4 (d, e, f):

* Special Risk Allowance to government health workers;
* Free medical expenses to public and private health workers;
* P100,000 allowance to public and private health workers who get infected by the coronavirus in the line of duty.

This makes us wonder: How can we heal as one when they can’t heal their own?

Worse, it makes us wonder as well if the DOH is busy procuring pricey medical equipment to neglect their front-liners.

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An Appeal for Public Disclosure: How the Average ‘Juan’ Can Help Flatten the COVID-19 Curve

With Republic Act 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act still not ready for implementation, it is not easy for the government to trace ordinary citizens who tested positive for COVID-19, as well as those who were directly exposed and symptomatic. Making the job harder is the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (R.A. 10173), which protects the right to privacy and non-disclosure of medical records of patients.

As an admitted oversight of Congress, the recently enacted Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (R.A. 11469) does not authorize the President to direct the disclosure of COVID-19 patients.

But if public figures like Prince Charles, Boris Johnson, Tom Hanks, Christopher de Leon and several of our own legislators had voluntarily and publicly declared they are or were infected, maybe it is time for the “man on the street” – the ordinary Filipinos – to do the same in order to alert those who they had interacted with to take the necessary measures, so that the infection does not spread further.

If their identities are made public voluntarily, even through their barangay bulletins, homeowners’ associations or any social media platforms available, then people who they directly got in contact with can come forward to be tested and treated if needed.

As an elected Senator of the Republic, I appeal to our citizens to practice that selfless act of responsibility to society and do our part in hastening to flatten the curve by thwarting the spread of the virus even in our own little way.

COVID-19 may not be like the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), where there is social stigma attached to the afflicted because it is sexually transmitted in most cases. Nevertheless, it does not diminish the threat that COVID-19 poses not only to those vulnerable but those around them.

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Read: RA 11469, Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (Anti-COVID)

Republic Act 11469 gives the government the needed powers to address the COVID-19 emergency. Section 4 (j) of the law aims to β€œensure that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products intended to address the COVID-19 public health emergency are not unnecessarily delayed and that health products for donation duly certified by the regulatory agency or their accredited third party from countries with established regulation shall automatically be cleared: Provided, this shall not apply to health products which do not require a certification or clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.”