DOH to release rules for benefits of coronavirus-stricken health workers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2020   •   216

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday assured it will issue within the day the joint administrative order on the release of benefits for health workers infected with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Secretary of Health has already signed the joint administrative order and they are only awaiting the signature of both the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The order will contain implementing rules on Section 4F of the Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which states that a compensation of P100,000 will be provided to public and private health workers who may contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty; while those who die while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will receive a compensation of P1 million.

The DOH earlier reported that 32 healthcare workers died due to COVID-19 while 79 were severely ill.

As of June 2, a total of 2,675 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19; 1,457 of them have recovered.

Vergeire said the release of the guidelines was delayed because they still had to source the funds for the beneficiaries.

She added that they also explored different possibilities, including tapping the Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System, but found that doing so would result in a more difficult process.


“Alam naman natin na marami doon sa mga gastustin ngayon ay kinukuha lang natin sa realigned budget namin especially for those logistics na pangangailangan namin,” she said.

The health official said the DOH has allotted P100 million for the program which will come from the agency’s medical assistance funds.

“Kung saka-sakali na tayo ay maka-receive na ng documentary requirements na kailangan ng ating gobyerno para makapag- release tayo ng pera,” she said.

Vergeire said the DOH has already contacted the families of all 32 health workers who died of the disease for the requirements.

Malacañang on Thursday said that President Rodrigo Duterte has given concerned government agencies until June 9 to distribute the financial assistance to COVID-19-stricken health workers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Navotas to undergo 14-day lockdown due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Navotas City will be placed under a 14-day lockdown due to the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco confirmed what has been floating on social media regarding the lockdown, although he added that he is still yet to sign the directive.

Based on the report of City Health officials on Sunday (July 12), there are 931 confirmed cases in the city.

Tiangco lamented that despite the rising cases, residents continue to leave their houses irresponsibly. He also said that several children are playing outside without wearing face masks.

Barangay NBBS Dagat-dagatan has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.

Barangay Chairperson Zenaida Tibulan said most of the residents thought there is less danger when community quarantine eased.

Lahat halos lumalabas na noong nagkaroon ng GCQ parang pakiramdam nila natapos na ang problema. Sobra lang mahirap talaga para masasabi nating ma-control ang mga tao at mga bata na lumabas (Almost everyone went outside when GCQ was implemented, they thought the problem is over. It is really difficult to control residents and children not to leave their houses),” she said.

Mayor Tiangco said he is still waiting for the augmentation force he requested from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to begin the implementation of the lockdown in the city. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento).

Phl Red Cross opens convalescent plasma center in Manila to help fight COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday said it has opened its convalescent plasma center in the Philippine capital to help in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The PRC said its convalescent plasma bank was opened at its National Blood Center in Port Area and has started operations Monday.

In a statement, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the facility aims to help COVID-19 patients after some medical experts attested to the therapy’s effectiveness.

“Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID,” he said as he noted that 9 out 10 patients who underwent the therapy have recovered from the disease.

Convalescent plasma therapy involves the extraction of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to be transfused to a patient who is still battling the disease. Blood plasma is expected to contain antibodies which will help recipients fight off the infection.

Gordon said the center is open for COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma to the PRC.

COVID-19 survivors between the ages of 18 and 65 would have to undergo physical and medical to see if they are qualified to donate blood plasma.

To date, the Philippines has recorded a total of 57,006 COVID-19 cases. Of these patients, 20,371 have recovered while 1,599 died from the disease.

Burial for COVID-19 victims allowed but should be done within 12 hours—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Burial for victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is allowed but should be done within 12 hours, according to the guidelines implemented by the Department of Health (DOH).

“We are still following our Code on Sanitation dito sa ating bansa and ang Law for Notifiable Diseases. Nakalagay dito na ang isang pasyenteng mamamatay sa infectious disease, kailangan within 12 hours mailibing natin, (We are still following our Code on Sanitation and Law for Notifiable Disease in our country. It is stated that a patient who succumbed to an infectious disease should be buried within 12 hours),” according to the statement of DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The protocols for the burial of COVID-19 victims is based on the Department Circular No. 0067 released in February.

Vergeire also said the casket should be double sealed and should not be reopened once it is closed. She added that buried remains of patients infected with the novel coronavirus shall not be exhumed for whatever reason.

The DOH said they are aware of the increasing number of COVID-19 deaths and the long queues in crematoriums. There are also reports of dwindling supply of urns. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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