Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr, on Monday, September 14, discussed some of the salient points of Republic Act No. 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan II), which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on September 11, 2020.
The Palace official gave details on where the funds will go, particularly on healthcare and COVID-19 response, and the benefits that will be given to healthcare workers under the new law. “Magkakaroon po tayo ng P13.5-B na ilalaan para sa health-related responses. Kasama rito ang tuloy tuloy na employment at hiring ng emergency human resources for health,” said Secretary Roque.
Under the Bayanihan II, augmentation of the operation of DOH hospitals will continue, as well as the allocation of a COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance for private and public healthcare workers who had direct contact with COVID-19 patients. The special risk allowance will be given for every month that they were on active duty while the state of national emergency declared by the President is in effect.
Aside from the COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance, the new law will also give life insurance, temporary housing, transportation, and food to all public and private health workers while the state of national emergency is in effect, regardless of quarantine status.
Like in Bayanihan I, healthcare workers who got sick with COVID-19 in the line of duty will be also be given compensation. “Kung sakaling binawian ng buhay ang health worker, isang milyon piso po ang ibibigay sa mga naiwan ng health worker. Kung sakaling magkasakit ng severe or critical, P100, 000 ang nakalaan sa health workers. Para naman sa mild or moderate cases, mabibigyan po sila ng P15, 000,” said Sec Roque.
The said compensation is retroactive starting February 1, 2020, and is tax- exempt. According to Bayanihan II, healthcare workers should receive the compensation not more than three months from the date of hospitalization or death from COVID-19.
Some P3-Billion pesos is meanwhile allocated for the distribution of personal protective equipment like protective suit, face mask, shoe covers, face shield, and goggles for public and private COVID-19 referral hospitals, both national and local, for barangays, and indigent persons.
Still part of the new law’s COVID-19 response allocations is the P4.5-Billion fund for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories for frontliners, and enhancing the capacity of government hospitals all over the country.
Among the allocations for government agencies under the Bayanihan II is the P6-Billion fund for the programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, including fund for emergency subsidy for areas that will be under granular lockdowns.
“Magbibigay po tayo ng P5-8,000 pesos na ayuda, dun sa mga mamamayan na mapapasaloob po ng granular lockdown na idedeklara ng mga lokal na pamahalan. At bukod pa po dito, yung balance po ng P13-Billion ay ibibigay po natin yan sa mga nawalan ng trabaho at yan po ay ibibigay po ng DOLE at magbibigay din po tayo ng tulong doon sa mga nais na magkaroon ng training para magkaroon po muli ng bagong trabaho,” explained Sec Roque.
There was also P820-Million allotted for repatriation-related expenses, including the shipment of remains and cremation of Overseas Filipinos who died of COVID-19, while P10-Billion is reserved for COVID-19 testing and the procurement of COVID-19 medication and vaccine.
On another matter, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña discussed in the same media briefing, the updates on the country’s vaccine bilateral and multilateral collaborations, zoning guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine trials, and developments on local clinical trials.
On Virgin Coconut Oil clinical trials, Sec de la Peña said that the trials being conducted by the Philippine General Hospital is already in the recruitment phase, while the one being conducted by the Sta. Rosa Community Hospital in Sta. Rosa is nearing completion of their target number of patients. ### OPS-PCOO