Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News
The Department of Health (DOH) has distributed cash benefits the families of health workers who died from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told media on Tuesday evening that they were able to give the P1 million checks to 30 out of 32 families of health workers who died from the illness.
“The other 2 have their relatives abroad and we are still coordinating with their families how they can get the money,” she said.
Meanwhile, all of the 19 health workers who became severely ill because of COVID-19 received their P100,000 checks.
This was after President Rodrigo Duterte gave the DOH a June 9 deadline for the distribution of benefits.
The DOH received flak for the delay in the implementation of Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which provides for P1 million assistance for families of health workers who died due to COVID-19 and P100,000 for health workers who became severely ill.
Vergeire earlier explained the delay was due to the time needed to identify funds for realignment.
The health official also explained on Tuesday that two of the health workers in the original list of fatalities were delisted because their death certificates did not specify COVID-19 as the cause of their death.
But another 2 health workers were also validated by Tuesday and were added to the list, keeping the number of fatalities to 32.
Meanwhile, the number of health workers who were considered severe COVID-19 cases fell from 69 last week to just 19 on Tuesday.
Many were delisted because their medical records reportedly showed that they only had mild or moderate symptoms. Some also told DOH that they were not severely ill and are therefore not eligible for the benefit.