OVP to provide free shuttle service for Cebu City frontliners

Maris Federez   •   July 6, 2020   •   267

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Vice President (OVP) will be providing free shuttle service for frontliners and healthcare workers in Cebu City, a statement released on Sunday (July 5) said.

The statement read that the OVP Free Shuttle Service for Cebu health workers and frontliners will start Monday, July 6, as part of #BayanihanSugbuanon — the Vice President’s COVID-19 Response Operations in Cebu.

“Our pilot run will have initial three routes, with two trips each for morning and afternoon. Kindly refer to the individual cards for the full schedule for AM, AM reverse, PM, and PM reverse trips,” the statement further read.

“We are grateful to our partners, UBE Express, Seaoil, and Genergex Petroleum, whose support made this initiative possible,” it added.

The schedules and routes may be subject to adjustments, based on the needs that will be seen during the pilot run.  

Meanwhile, the OVP and its partners will also start opening free dormitories for Cebu frontliners.

The first dormitory is located at Brgy. Banilad, Cebu City, near the North General Hospital. 

The statement said that the dorm is open for health workers, medical practitioners, and other frontliners involved in offering essential services amid the COVID-19 crisis on a first come, first served basis. —/mbmf

Office of the Vice President suspends operation after 4 staffers contract COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Vice President (OVP) confirmed that four members of its staff has contracted coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Following the confirmation, the OVP immediately suspended operations and proceeded with testing all its personnel including Vice President Leni Robredo.

According to OVP Spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez, VP Robredo tested negative for COVID-19.

“The office has already started contact tracing procedures to identify all those who have interacted with the four staffers that tested positive,” Gutierrez said.

Atty. Gutierrez said office operations at the OVP will temporarily be suspended to make way for a full disinfection procedure.

Duque takes responsibility over compensation mess

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 5, 2020

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said he is taking the responsibility for the delayed compensation for health workers hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a tweet, the Duque said it is still his responsibility as the secretary of health to make sure compensations are properly distributed.

The Health Secretary initially put the blame of delayed compensation for the COVID-19 hit health workers on his subordinates, during his talk with President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday morning (June 5).

“Nakakahiya talaga sir, namatayan na nga, nagpawardi-wardi iyong mga tao ko na parang walang sense of urgency. Ang sama-sama po ng loob ko Mr. President (It is a shame, sir, that people are dying and yet my subordinates were dilly-dallying as if they have no sense of urgency. I am really disappointed, Mr. President),” he said.

The DOH already released a joint administrative order to implement the provision of the Bayanihan Law to provide P100,000 benefits to health workers who were badly hit by COVID-19, while P1 million will be given to the families of health workers who already passed away due to the virus.

Duterte has given the DOH until June 9 to provide the financial assistance to the health workers hit with COVID-19. AAC (with report from Aiko Miguel)

Delayed cash assistance to fallen, sickened medical frontliners dismayed Senators

Marje Pelayo   •   June 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Medical frontliners who will get infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in line of duty starting February 1, 2020, are entitled to receive a compensation of P100,000.

Meanwhile, relatives of those who will die of the disease will receive P1-million, according to Section 4 of the Bayanihan to Heal as One-Act. 

But until now, none of the infected healthcare workers not even the relatives of those who succumbed to COVID-19 have received any amount from the government which dismayed several Senators. 

According to Senator Sonny Angara, the Department of Health (DOH) failed to come up with implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Law that is why they were not able to distribute the said financial aid to the supposed beneficiaries.

The Senator insisted that the DOH should not use the absence of an IRR as an excuse for not complying with the law. 

“It is really criminal. This neglect to pass and to delay these types of benefits,” Angara said. 

“These people, we keep praising them as our heroes but yet, it’s just mere lip service if we don’t give them anything material,” he added.

Senator Richard Gordon, meanwhile, stressed that providing aid to frontliners sickened or killed in the line of duty especially at this pandemic is something unquestionable. 

“You don’t need Implementing Rules and Regulations here. The law is very clear. Why should we distinguish? They have already died,” Gordon said. 

“A little investigation will tell us that you can pay them because they died because they were in the frontlines! That’s a no-brainer,” he added. 

Gordon noted that the COVID-19 death toll among healthcare workers has already reached 32 while two others are now severely or critically ill. 

Senator Kiko Pangilinan also expressed his dismay and called the matter ‘unacceptable and unforgivable.’

“They have already died. They have already suffered, and we continue to allow them to suffer more because of this failure and inaction on the part of the Department of Health,” he said.

Because of this, Senate President Vicente Sotto III demanded the DOH to explain such delays in the compensation of fallen and sickened healthcare workers.

“It is definitely unacceptable. The answer is acceptable. They have to do it and they have to do it today,” Sotto said.

The DOH, however, is yet to respond to the matter. —MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)

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