A PROPOSED law that will serve as legal basis for the provision of additional benefits to healthcare institution workers, both medical and non-medical personnel, during the coronavirus pandemic is set for sponsorship in the Senate before the October break, said Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara.

“This bill is an offshoot of the Senate’s investigation into the receipt or non-receipt of benefits by our health workers as contained in the Bayanihan laws. With the view of the Executive branch that these Bayanihan II health benefits have lapsed already with the expiration of the law, we were constrained to file this bill,” said Mr. Angara in a statement.

Senate Bill 2371 addresses problems on the legality of the continued grant of benefits to health workers under the Bayanihan I and II, which provided time-bound funds for response and stimulus programs relating to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

Mr. Angara, who chairs the finance committee, said he is looking to have the consolidated bill sponsored in plenary before Sept. 30.

Under the proposed measure, the COVID-19 special risk allowance and active hazard duty pay will be provided every month on top of existing benefits under other laws. Life insurance, accommodation, transportation, and meals will also be granted to medical frontliners regardless of quarantine status. Compensation will also be given to those who have contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty.

The pandemic benefits will also be exempt from income tax.

“We acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices being made by our health workers… They should continue to receive their benefits for as long as this national health emergency is in place,” Mr. Angara said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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