Duque blames staff for delay of health workers' benefits
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has blamed his staff for the delay in the release of benefits to health workers who severely got sick or died after they were infected with coronavirus disease while performing their job.
In a televised meeting in Davao City with President Rodrigo Duterte and was aired on Friday morning, Duque said he ordered the Department of Health (DOH) employees to immediately process and distribute the checks to the beneficiaries to meet the President's June 9 deadline.
"It's really shameful, Sir, they lost their family members and yet my staff are not in a hurry. It's as if there's no sense of urgency," he said.
Duterte said the DOH could have asked the help of other agencies, such as the Department of Interior and Local Government, to fast-track the release of assistance.
Under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, public and private health workers who may contract severe COVID-19 infection are entitled for a compensation of P100,000 each while the family of health workers who may die while fighting the pandemic will get P1 million each.
The law was passed last March and yet after over two months, the DOH has not released the benefits.
"So, why don't they (DOH officials) just go to the DILG and ask for help," said Duterte.
"When I give an order for something to be done, I don't count months, I only count days," he said, stressing the need for teamwork.
Duterte said the power to appoint carries with it a power to dismiss.
"And since It's an absolute thing for lack of - total lack - total loss of confidence, I'm removing them because they are not functioning. So we are wasting money paying for these idiots?," he said.
It was not sure how many of Duque's staff could just be terminated for not acting fast on the release of benefits.
Duque said 32 families of those who perished in line of duty would get P1 million each. Celerina Monte/DMS