EDITORIAL - Duque better get a move on
(The Freeman) - June 7, 2020 - 12:00am

After blaming his staff for the delay in the release of the compensation for health workers infected by COVID-19, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has assumed responsibility for the failure.

“While I expressed disappointment towards some members of my team, I acknowledge that this is still responsibility as Secretary of Health,” Duque said in a Tweet last Friday noon.

It is tempting to just attack Duque for this latest fiasco, and so far he has had several since the COVID-19 crisis began, but since he nobly admitted he is also to blame for some of the delay, let us accept his statement and move on.

Now he should move heaven and earth to get the compensation to those who deserve to receive them before the deadline President Rodrigo Duterte set on June 9.

Under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, those medical workers who fell seriously ill as a result of their work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are entitled to receive P100,000 each, while the family of each medical workers who died as a result of COVID-19 is set to receive P1 million.

As of now there are 32 families expected to receive the aid.

It’s a shame that those beneficiaries were made to wait this long.

It would be an understatement to say COVID-19 was an inconvenience. Aside from the deaths it caused, it drained many families of their savings, caused people to lose their jobs and businesses, and ruined different kinds of plans. In short, it literally turned the world upside down.

Despite the chaos and lockdowns, there were still those who were called to the front line, those who still had to go to work and risk not just their lives but also the future and financial security of their families. But did they get thanks for their efforts? Hardly. Many of them even experienced the opposite; harassment, discrimination, and even threats.

This is why they deserve this compensation; it’s practically the least we can do for them after all they have been through.

Duque has a deadline to beat, he better get a move on.

FRANCISCO DUQUE III
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