President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has ordered the immediate release of compensation benefits for healthcare workers who have been afflicted with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and for the family of those who have succumbed to the disease in the line of duty.
This was after the President learned that not one of the healthcare workers who had been severely ill or died because of COVID-19 received the benefits that were approved as compensation for their heroism and service under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.
“Hanggang Martes lang po ang binigay ng Presidente para sa lahat ng kinauukulan na ibigay ang mga compensation benefits sa mga health workers na nagkasakit ng COVID-19 in the line of duty at sa mga pamilyang naiwan ng mga namatay na health workers … Nagbigay ang Pangulo ng deadline na hanggang Martes sa susunod na linggo para maisagawa ito,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. at a media briefing held in Davao City on June 4.
Under the Bayanihan Act, healthcare workers who contract severe COVID-19 infection will get PhP100,000, while the families of those who have died of the disease will receive PhP1 million.
Meanwhile, on the matter of the commuting public’s plight in getting to and from work, the Presidential Spokesperson said that this has also come to the attention of the President who has ordered to increase the number of bus routes starting Friday, June 5.
“Nagbigay ng direktiba ang Presidente na dagdagan pa ang ruta ng mga bus na bumabyahe sa Metro Manila simula po bukas, araw ng Biyernes. Alinsunod dito, tatlong ruta po ang binuksan ng DOTr bukas at tatlong ruta pa rin po ang dadagdag sa Lunes. Kasama po ito sa gradual at calibrated approach ng DOTr sa muling pagbubukas ng public transport,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace official added that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will meet with concerned bus operators today, June 4, with regard to the additional bus deployment order of the President.
Secretary Roque also announced that jeepney drivers may get a third tranche of subsidy. “Pinag-aaralan na po na bigyan ng pangatlong buwang ayuda ang mga jeepney drivers na nawalan ng hanap-buhay po dahil hindi pa po pinapayagan na bumiyahe ang ating mga jeepney. Ito po’y manggagaling pa rin dun sa Bayanihan Act,” said the Spokesperson.
In the same media briefing, Task Force T3 (Test, Trace, Treat) Chief Implementer Vivencio “Vince” Dizon confirmed that the target testing capacity of 30,000 has indeed been surpassed already with 41,990 daily testing capacity as of June 3, 2020. There are also 52 laboratories nationwide, as of June 3 that can conduct testing for COVID-19.
Dizon added that because of the country’s expanded testing capacity, the country can now go beyond testing only the symptomatic patients. He said that the new goal for the country’s expanded targeted testing is to find and test the asymptomatic infected patients.
Task Force T3 plans to expand targeted testing in densely populated communities like the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Cebu, Davao, and other highly populated cities, and among frontliners who do not have symptoms.
Lastly, Dizon said the goal now is to increase the testing capacity by 50,000 this month of June, and to increase the actual testing, accordingly. ### OPS-PCOO