The Department of the Interior and Local Government will investigate the alleged reduction of the hazard pay of a frontline health worker who recently died from COVID-19 who was a nurse at the Cainta Municipal Hospital.
DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that they will ask the Cainta Local Government Unit to explain why it reduced the Hazard Pay of nurse Ms. Ma. Theresa Cruz, why there was undue delay in its release, and why they allegedly refused to give her a swab test after she had close contact with a COVID patient.
In a viral social media post, her daughter Joie Cruz lamented that instead of the expected PHP 30,000+, what she received from Cainta LGU was PHP 7,000+. “Apparently, the COVID hazard pay of the nurses in their public hospital has been reduced to just PHP 150 per day and on top of it were deductions that were not even properly explained by the hospital administration. In the end, it appears my mom was only given PHP 64.18 per day for her COVID hazard pay for 41 days,” she said in her post.
Malaya said that the Cruz family already received the Special Risk Allowance under the Bayanihan Act which corresponds to a maximum of 25% of her monthly salary but it is still unclear why the LGU reduced her hazard pay from P500 to P64.18/day.
“Cainta is a first class municipality so I see no reason why it could not afford to pay the P500/day hazard pay granted to all health workers during this global pandemic,” he said.
Malaya also said that the DILG together with the DOH will ensure that she receives the one million compensation for health workers who died in the line of duty provided in the Bayanihan Act. “Sec Duque has assured us that they will expeditiously process the compensation upon submission of the family of the application and requirements,” he said.
“We will ensure that her family receives all the benefits provided under the law. This is the least we can do to honor her service to the Municipality of Cainta where she worked in its LGU-run public hospital for more than 10 years - the first 4 years of those without any salary,” he added.
He also said that they want the LGU to explain why it allegedly denied Ms. Cruz a swab test after she was exposed to a COVID-19 patient and why an official angrily cursed at her after her daughter commented on a local politician's post last March on the conditions at the Cainta Municipal Hospital.
“We have to take care of our health workers because they are the ones who take care of us. Without them, we lose the war against COVID-19. Therefore, we will investigate and determine who should be held accountable,” he said.