Sen. Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, urged the Executive Department to hasten the creation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act 11469, also known as the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act’.
Go, the former close aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, made the call on Wednesday, March 25, due to the need to immediately release assistance to health workers and to communities affected by the threat of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
“Magkakaroon ng technical working group ang Executive Department. Para sa akin dapat bilisan na nila. Nanawagan ako sa Executive Department bilang kasamahan ko noon,” the senator said during DZRH’s Coffee Break.
“Dapat tutukan natin ito, itong pagbibigay ng tulong agad,” he appealed.
Under RA 11469, the President has the authority to implement temporary emergency measures in response to the crisis in the Philippines brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These measures include providing emergency subsidy worth Php 5,000 to Php 8,000 a month to around 18 million low income households for two months.
“Ito ang pinaka-importante dahil pinilit natin silang manatili sa kanilang mga pamamahay at sa ngayon hindi sila makapag-trabaho lalong-lalo na yung mga ‘isang kahid, isang tuka’, yung mga minimum wage worker na inaasahang mag-trabaho, mag-negosyo para kumita sa araw-araw,” Go said.
“Ito yung mga taong walang savings. Ito yung mga taong hindi nakapag-handa na hindi nila inaasahan na mawawalan sila ng hanap-buhay, na pang araw-araw na kita so ito dapat ang una nating supportahan,” he added.
The Chief Executive can also direct the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to shoulder all medical expenses of public or private health workers in case of exposure to COVID-19, any work-related injury or disease during the duration of the national emergency.
Health workers who may contact severe COVID-19 while in the line of duty will receive compensation worth Php 100,000, and the family of health workers who died while fighting the pandemic will also receive compensation amounting to Php 1 million.
RA 11469 also allows the creation of a COVID-19 special risk allowance for the protection of public health workers ‘in addition to the hazard pay granted under RA 7305, also known as the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers’.
“Yung mga frontliner natin ngayon, sinusugal nila ang kanilang buhay. Sa giyerang ito, sila ang nasa frontline natin kaya alagaan natin sila at bigyan natin sila ng pagpapahalaga,” Go stressed.
The lawmaker also called for the Department of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine to immediately accredit COVID-19 testing, and personal protective equipment.
“Ang mga kababayan natin, nagmamadali na rin tayo, nangangamba sila kaya nanawagan ko na bilisan natin mas lalo na sa mga malalayong lugar na walang testing center, testing kits,” Go said.