Lawmaker wants to put up monument for frontliners, scholarships for their kids

Personnel from different barangays in Quezon City learn to wear personal protective equipment as part of city's preparedness against COVID-19, March 05, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing for the creation of a monument commemorating frontline workers who served during the COVID-19 pandemic and died, and for their children to receive scholarship grants and financial assistance from the government.

Under House Bill No. 9159 filed by Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez (Manila, 1st District), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will be mandated to erect a Bantayog ng mga Bayaning Frontliners “to serve as a memorial for the heroism of all frontline heroes.”

Lopez said that the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces highlight the need to “recognize the courage, hard work, sacrifice and invaluable contirbution of our frontline heroes.”

If passed into law, the monument will be inaugurated during the “National Day of Mourning and Remembrance for COVID-19 Frontliners,” a special working holiday which would be marked as determined by the NCCA.

The names of all frontline heroes, who would be selected by a 10-member committee composed of government officials and representatives from medical organizations, the religious sector, media organizations, volunteer groups and the business sector, would be inscribed on the monument.

The bill also mandates that the children of frontline heroes be given scholarships and financial assistance in any state school, college or university.

Funding for the proposal would be sourced from the annual budget of the NCCA, but the measure also indicates that private donations may also fund it.

Lopez’s proposal does not include any additional benefits that living frontline workers may receive in recognition of their service, although he is pushing for a probe into complaints of delays in the disbursement of benefits and allowances to health workers already mandated by the two Bayanihan laws.

The Department of Health has recorded 16,510 health care workers who contracted COVID-19. Of this number, 86 have died and 15,796 have recovered. — Xave Gregorio

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