The Department of Health (DOH) announced on September 3, 2020, that the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 has allocated about PHP 53.48 billion, almost half of the 165 billion stimulus package for the support of healthcare workers, sustaining the drive of the department and keep healthcare workers protected while at the same time preventing the influx of patients into hospitals.
The first phase of the Bayanihan 1, also known as the Bayanihan to Heal as One, provided medical frontliners with personal protective equipment, accommodations, and risk allowances, among other benefits, as well as recruiting more of their colleagues to help them in their daily duties. Bayanihan 2, on the other hand, will concentrate on primary care and the improvement of the health system and its attendant benefits.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosaro Singh-Vergeire explained how Bayanihan 2 built on the accomplishments of Bayanihan 1, while continuing to fortify the response of the public and private health sectors against the economy. “Bayanihan 1 was a call to both our public and our medical communities to unite in a common vision to bring healing to our coronavirus-besieged sectors,” she said. “Bayanihan 2 takes the next steps forward in consolidating that healing through recovery, which is made possible by strengthening our health system structures while heeding the call of our HCWs for assistance and provisions.”
Vergeire further emphasized the paramount role that medical frontliners play in curbing the spread of the virus, and the reason why their health and safety must be prioritized. She said, “Our doctors, nurses, and medical and health staff are our last line of defense and they need us more than ever. Through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, we look forward to further equipping our health system to not let anything hinder them from fulfilling their passion to heal and save lives.”
In total, PHP 4.5 billion was allocated for temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, and expansion of government hospital capacity all over the country. This includes the P180 million that was set aside to pay for dormitories, located in 12 COVID-19 referral hospitals, where frontliners can conveniently take a rest or sleep after their shifts.
About PHP 2.35 billion was spent on the HCW’s accommodations, transportation, and meals, providing them respite from their day-to-day expenses while serving in the line of duty. Free life insurance also allows them to have peace of mind as far as their financial security is concerned, as well as their families’.
In case an HCW gets infected and falls ill due to COVID-19 while performing their assigned tasks, compensation will be provided. The PHP 0.27 billion allocation will cover all HCWs who contracted COVID-19 from February 1 onwards.
Specifically, provisions for an infected HCW will be PHP15,000 for mild or moderate cases, PHP 100,000 for severe or critical illness, and PHP 1 million in the event of death.
According to Vergeire, the help and support for the medical frontliners are critical in the nation’s response to the health crisis.
“Hindi pwedeng matigil ang suporta natin para sa ating healthcare workers. Kung kailangan natin sila sa panahon ng pandemya, mas lalong kailangan rin nila ang tulong natin ngayon. Pinaka-importanteng magtulungan tayong lahat sa krisis na ‘to, (We should continue to support our healthcare workers. If we need them during the pandemic, the more they need us to support them. What is the most important is we support each other in this crisis.)” Vergeire said.