No COVID-19-infected frontliner availed gov’t pay due to lack of IRR, says Angara

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 2) - A senator said Tuesday that no one among the frontline health workers, who were severely infected or died of COVID-19, has availed of the financial compensation as provided by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Senate Finance Committee chairperson Sonny Angara said that this was because of the absence of implementing rules and regulations from the Department of Health.

“We were told, because there is no IRR, no one has been able to avail it,” said Senator Sonny Angara during the afternoon session.

Under the Bayanihan Law, ₱100,000 compensation must be given to frontline health workers who got infected with COVID-19, and ₱1 million for those who died of the infection.

“I’m very disappointed to hear the response from the DOH,” said Angara. “It’s quite upsetting... I mean so many months have gone without the DOH crafting the IRR.”

Latest update from the DOH showed that there are more than 2,600 health workers who contracted the virus, while around 1,430 recovered and 32 died.

For his part, Senator Richard Gordon said that an IRR is not needed to implement the said compensation.

“You don’t need implementing rules and regulations here. The law is very clear. Why should we distinguish? They have already died, a little investigation could tell us that we can pay them that they died because they were in the frontlines,” said Gordon.

“I think the implementing rules and regulations are always an excuse to delay the wills of justice and health in this country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Angara said they will do their best to solve the issue.

“We will try to do what we can to nudge them in the right direction,” said Angara.