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P1B Covid-19 aid released

The DBM said each of the families of those who contracted Covid on duty and who died because of it would receive P1 million



Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has announced the release of P1.081 billion to the Department of Health (DoH) to cover the death and sickness benefits of Covid-19 frontliners.

Among those qualified for the benefits are public and private healthcare and non-healthcare workers who contracted the virus in the line of duty at health facilities, the department said in a statement over the weekend.

Those who contracted mild or moderate Covid-19 infections will each receive P15,000 in compensation, while those whose infections were severe or which needed critical care will each be compensated for P100,000, it added.

The DBM said each of the families of those who contracted Covid on duty and who died because of it would receive P1 million.

“The identification of Covid-19 classification of eligible HCW (healthcare workers) and non-HCW shall be based on the criteria set by the health department under DBM-DoH Joint Circular 2022-0002,” the DBM added.

The funds were charged against the regular budget of the DoH under the 2022 General Appropriations Act.

Thus, the compensation will be transferred by the DoH to its hospitals and facilities whose services are retained by the department.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law, released last 29 April, granting continuing mandatory benefits for health workers during the Covid pandemic and future health emergencies.

Under Republic Act 11712, also known as the “Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers Act,” the state “recognizes the critical role of health care workers in providing quality health care to ensuring disease prevention in the general population, especially in times of national public health emergencies.”

RA 11712 applies to all healthcare and non-healthcare workers in all public and private healthcare facilities, laboratories, treatment facilities and vaccination sites.

“Outsourced personnel hired under institutional or individual contract of service or job order basis who are similarly exposed to Covid-19, or other threats in times of public health emergencies, are included as non-health workers under this Act,” the law said.

Also included are those barangay health workers assigned to health facilities, including swabbing and vaccination sites.

The law sets in place the Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) that will be given every month based on risk classification where the beneficiaries are deployed.

Those deployed in “low-risk areas” are entitled to at least P3,000. Those deployed in “medium-risk areas” shall be given at least P6,000; and those deployed in “high-risk areas” shall be given at least P9,000.

The law mandates the giving of the HEA in full provided that the beneficiary physically renders services for at least 96 hours in a month. Otherwise, the allowance will be prorated.