Go: Prioritize gov’t support, protection for health workers

March 26, 2020
Bong Go

SENATOR Christopher Lawrence Go said public and private health workers who are on duty during the enhanced community quarantine deserve proper financial assistance from the government.

“Wala naman pong dapat piliin dito dahil laban natin itong lahat. Maging publiko o maging pribado ay in line of duty,” Go said on the radio program “Failon Ngayon” on DZMM.

Host Ted Failon interviewed Go on the recently signed Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte  on Tuesday, March 24, authorizing the President to exercise powers that are necessary in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in the country.

“Para sa akin, dapat kasama sila (private health workers), lalong lalo na po ‘yung mga nagbuwis ng buhay sa labang ito. Para sa akin, parang giyera na rin po itong ating hinaharap sa ngayon, lalong lalo na po iyong mga frontliners natin na talagang nagsasakripisyo sa ngayon,” Go explained.

RA 11469 mandates the compensation of P100,000 to public and private health workers who may contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty. Those who may die of COVID-19 will also be entitled to a compensation of P1 million. The benefits have retroactive application beginning February 1, 2020.

The law also provides for additional special risk allowance to be given to them, on top of their existing hazard pay. All medical expenses of health personnel arising from contracting COVID-19 shall be shouldered by PhilHealth.

“We must secure them, lalong lalo na po ‘yung kanilang mga pamilya kung saka-sakali naman po. Alam niyo, mahirap ‘yung trabaho nila ngayon. Dapat i-compensate at proteksyunan natin sila ng sapat at tama,” the senator said.

He also appealed to the Filipino people to follow the orders of the authorities for the sake of health workers and for their own protection.

“Ako po ay nakikiusap sa ating mga kapatid na Pilipino. Please cooperate with the government. Kapakanan po ninyo ang inuuna namin. Kalusugan po ng bawat Pilipino ang nasa isipan namin parati. Para po sa inyo ito. Gaya ng pakiusap ng ating mahal na Pangulong Duterte, huwag tayong matigas ang ulo. Sumunod po tayo sa polisiya ngayon dahil para po sa inyo ito,” Go said.

“Manatili po tayo sa ating mga bahay. Alam niyo po, nagsasakripisyo po ang ating mga frontliners—mga doctors, mga nurses, mga military at pulis. Tulungan na lang po natin sila. Bilang tulong, manatili po tayo sa ating mga pamamahay. Rest assured gagawin po namin ang lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya,” he added.

Go recognized the essential roles of frontliners in the implementation of the community quarantine. “Maraming salamat po sa inyong serbisyo. We commend all our frontliners—health workers, doctors and nurses—who have sacrificed their lives to save their fellow Filipinos. Kayo ang mga bayani sa giyera na ito.”

He emphasized that the priority now is to be able to provide immediate healthcare needs to solve the health problem and defeat the virus and, at the same time, to provide cash and food assistance to those who are affected the most in this crisis.

Go also urged the Department of Health to address immediate concerns of the health sector when it comes to much needed support from government in equipping and capacitating health institutions so they can be more responsive to the needs of constituents amid the growing threats of COVID-19.

“Para sa ating mga ahensiya ng gobyerno, lalo na ang DOH, hindi naman po nagkulang si Pangulo sa pagsiguro na may sapat tayo na pondo para mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng mga Pilipino at maresolba ang krisis na ito,” Go said.

“Bigyan natin ng pansin ang mga reklamo ng ating frontliners – mga health workers, doctors at nurses. Pakinggan at tulungan natin sila dahil sila ang mas nakakaalam kung ano ang dapat gawin para matapos ang health emergency na hinaharap ng ating bansa,” Go added.

Go also explained further the need to prepare other health institutions outside Luzon to make sure they are capable of responding to the possible further spread of the virus.

“Siguraduhin natin na pati mga ospital sa pinakamalalayong lugar ay magkaroon ng kapasidad na maalagaan ang komunidad nila. Huwag na po natin intayin na kumalat sa lugar nila ang virus. Ngayon pa lang, ihanda na natin sila. May mga lugar na hindi pa nakakapag-test ng mga posibleng may COVID-19 na sakit. Dapat makarating sa kanila ang mga supplies at test kits na kailangan para maagapan ang pagkalat ng virus. Bilisan natin at siguraduhin natin na handa hindi lang ang Luzon, kundi ang buong bansa,” Go explained.