Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has commended the courage and heroic sacrifices of health workers and frontliners who are risking their lives and safety to combat and contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said she salutes the health workers and experts in the public and private sectors who show courage and dedication in fulfilling their duties.
“Sa ating mga manggagawang pangkalusugan, mga siyentista, mga kawani ng pamahalaan, at mga pribadong indibidwal na nasa frontline ngayon ng ating laban sa COVID-19, pagpupugay sa inyong matapang at taos-pusong paglilingkod sa bayan,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame 736.
“Despite the risks, you remain steadfast in our fight against this dreadful virus. Sa kabila ng mga kakulangan sa ating sistemang pangkalusugan, nananatiling buo ang serbisyong iniaalay niyo sa mga nangangailangan,” she added.
To date, some 14 individuals have already died due to coronavirus infection while 187 others have reportedly confirmed to be infected, one of which is a 27-year-old doctor who contracted the virus while attending to a COVID-19 patient.
Local health authorities have also reported that at least 39 doctors, nurses and staff at the Philippine Health Center in Quezon City have been placed under quarantine after they were exposed to a patient who died of the coronavirus.
The lady Senator from Bicol expressed gratitude to the health workers in the public and private sectors as she offered her prayers for their safety and their respective families during this time of national public health crisis.
“Patuloy kaming mananalangin para sa inyong maayos na kalusugan, pati na ng inyong pamilya na malayo sa inyo sa panahong ito. At kapag dumating ang panahong kayo naman ang mangangailangan, maaasahan niyo kami,” she said.
“Maraming salamat, walang hanggang pasasalamat. Tunay kayong ipinagmamalaki ng sambayanang Pilipino,” she added.
In the 18th Congress, De Lima has filed Senate Bill (SB) 185 instituting the “Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers,” granting them proper compensation and incentives for their sacrifices and tireless efforts in keeping local communities healthy.
De Lima’s proposed measure will make barangay health workers (BHWs) an appointee of the Municipal or City Mayor, entitling them to allowances and other benefits being received by other appointed barangay officials.
It also aims to mandate the appointment of least five BHWs in each barangay to ensure that communities have sufficient number of skilled health care providers.
The measure also seeks to professionalize BHWs by requiring them to undergo accreditation and competency assessment and a Mandatory Continuing Community-based Health Education every three years to guarantee that they are well-equipped in addressing the health needs of the more than 42,000 barangays in the country.
Under the measure, De Lima wants BHWs to receive additional benefits, such as ₱6,000.00-worth of honorarium, compulsory Philhealth coverage, and transportation allowance, among others.