USEC. JONATHAN E. MALAYA
Upon learning of the untimely death of Ms. Theresa Cruz, a nurse and medical frontliner of the Cainta Municipal Hospital, and the complaints raised by her family, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año immediately directed the constitution of a Fact-Finding Committee to look into the possible lapses of the LGU and hospital officials of Cainta, Rizal. The fact-finding committee, composed of our Rizal Provincial Director and several DILG officials, gave all the officials concerned, including Mayor Kit Nieto, the opportunity to present their side by presenting pertinent documents relative to the complaint.
Particularly, the Fact-Finding committee investigated if the Municipality of Cainta complied with Administrative Orders 26 and 28 which respectively directed Local Government Units to provide risk allowances and special risk allowances to their local medical frontliners. Additionally, the committee looked into the alleged delay in the provision of these allowances to local health workers particularly to the deceased. The report of the committee was submitted to the DILG Legal Service for review and recommendation.
After careful scrutiny and investigation, our Legal Service found that all benefits due the deceased were granted by the LGU, however, “there is indeed a considerable delay in the release of such benefits to the qualified personnel of the local government unit.” Our Legal Service found that based on the disbursement vouchers of the LGU, both the Hazard Pay and Special Risk Allowance for the months of March, April, and May 2020 were released to concerned personnel only on 05 August 2020.
The Legal Service has therefore recommended to the Secretary of Interior and Local Government the issuance of a Show Cause Order against the local chief executive of Cainta, Rizal requiring him to explain in writing and under oath why no administrative case should be filed against him for the inexcusable delay in the release of Hazard Pay and Special Risk Allowance to qualified personnel of the LGU, including the deceased nurse Theresa Cruz. We shall issue the said Show Cause Order against the mayor of Cainta in due course.
In the meantime, we wish to assure the public that the DILG is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of all medical front liners in all Local Government Units as well as in our uniformed services. The success of our fight against COVID, our on-going ability to flatten the curve, and the continuing decreasing trend in the number of active cases is anchored in our country’s ability to take care of our medical front-liners who are at the front and center of the battle against the global pandemic. We shall immediately act on all reports of mistreatment, discrimination, unsafe working conditions, as well as delay in the provision of benefits due to our health workers because their very lives depend on it. They are our modern heroes.