More benefits for frontliners with mild COVID-19, private medical workers in ‘Bayanihan 2’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — Healthcare workers in the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle will receive more assistance from the government with the signing of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the “Bayanihan 2,” a health official assured on Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said medical frontliners who will contract mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms will receive ₱15,000 from the government once the "Bayanihan 2" is signed into law. Under "Bayanihan 1," only those who died from the disease or became critically ill received cash benefits.

The financial assistance for those who will from severe cases of COVID-19 disease will remain at ₱100,000. ₱1 million will be given to the kin of the frontliner who died of the viral disease.

She added all healthcare workers hired under the government's emergency hiring program will also be provided life insurance and given accommodation, meals, and transportation under the bill that is awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte's signature. On top of this, those deployed to positions in DOH will get hazard pay for four months.

All DOH health workers and local government medical facilities will receive a monthly special risk allowance, as well as 30% of private hospital workers who are caring for COVID-19 patients.

"Dati wala tayo masyadong benefits for private healthcare workers pero ngayon, sinigurado ng batas na Bayanihan 2 na mayroon na both public and private. All of them will be provided as long as they directly cater to COVID-19 patients," she said in a media briefing.

[Translation: Before we did not have a lot of benefits for healthcare workers in private hospitals. But under Bayanihan 2, we ensured that both the public and private frontliners will be covered.]

DOH was allotted ₱21 billion of the ₱165.5 billion fund for pandemic response and recovery. ₱4.5 billion of the budget will go to the construction or expansion of temporary medical and quarantine facilities and dormitories for frontliners , ₱3 billion will be for the procurement of face masks and other personal protective equipment, while ₱13.50 billion will be allocated for other health-related resources.