A state of national emergency has been declared under Republic Act No. 11469, also known as the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” by reason of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Congress granted emergency powers to the President, including the power to grant additional benefits to medical frontliners:
- The grant of “COVID-19 special risk allowance,” in addition to the hazard pay granted under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers or Republic Act No. 7305;
- Compensation of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000) to public and private health workers who may contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty. This is retroactive to 1 February 2020.
- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) shall shoulder all medical expenses of public and private health workers in case of exposure to COVID-19 or any work-related injury or disease during the duration of the emergency.
- Death benefit, compensation of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000) for public and private health workers, who may die while fighting the VOID-19 pandemic. This is retroactive to 1 February 2020.
The President is also authorized to provide measures that indirectly benefit medical workers, including:
- Measures to expedite the accreditation of testing kits.
- Lease of real property or venue for use to house health workers or serve as quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution locations, or temporary medical facilities.
- Establishment, construction, and operation of temporary medical facilities.
- Procurement in the most expeditions manner, as exemptions from the provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 or the “Government Procurement Reform Act” and other relevant laws, of goods, which may include personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, masks, goggles, face shields; surgical equipment and supplies; laboratory equipment and its reagents; medical equipment and devices; support and maintenance of laboratory and medical equipment, surgical equipment and supplies; medical supplies, tools, and consumables such as alcohol, sanitizers, tissue, thermometers, hand soap, detergent, sodium hydrochloride, cleaning materials, povidone iodine, common medicines (e.g., paracetamol tablet and suspension, mefenamic acid, vitamins tablet and suspension, hyoscine tablet and suspension, oral rehydration solution, and cetirizine tablet and suspension); testing kits, and such other supplies or equipment as may be determined by the DOH and other relevant government agencies.