Press Release
June 4, 2020

Cash aid to health workers who got COVID-19 to be tax-free, released within 90 days

After it was revealed that not one of the hundreds of health workers who had fallen ill or died from COVID-19 had received a centavo of the compensation mandated by the Bayanihan Act, senators have amended the law to expedite the release of the cash aid and make it tax-exempt.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said a new provision of the Senate version of the bill extending the validity of the Bayanihan Act requires payment of compensation not later than 90 days after date of confinement or death.

"We are imposing a deadline. Its release should not be at the mercy of red tape," Recto said, who wrote the language of the amendments.

Under the present Bayanihan Act, public and private health workers who got sick from coronavirus will receive a compensation of P100,000, on top of free cost of hospitalization and treatment.

For those who will die, their beneficiaries will receive P1 million as compensation.

Recto said under the proposed "Bayanihan Act II," both the death and sickness compensation shall be exempt from all applicable taxes under the National Internal Revenue Code.

"The taxman should not have a share of the state's monetary thank you to these heroes," Recto said. "'Yung mga pabuya nga sa mga atletang nagkamedalya walang buwis, ito pa kayang para sa mga totoong nagbuwis buhay?"

That none of the deceased health workers or any of those who survived the virus had gotten the mandated compensation was revealed on the Senate floor Monday evening by Sens. Angara, Gordon, Pangilinan and Lacson.

As of June 1, 2020, 32 health care workers had died from the COVID-19 they had acquired as frontline personnel.

Of these, 26 were physicians, 4 were nurses, and 2 were non-medical staff.

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