President Rodrigo R Duterte declared the State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to the immerging threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19). In the Philippines, the disease has infected almost 9,000 individuals and has posed economic threat following the declaration of a State of Calamity throughout the country and implementation of an Enhanced Community Quarantine and General Community Quarantine in major cities.
The current state of the Philippines has urged the President to sign into law RA 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” to contain local transmissions of the disease, mobilize assistance of basic necessities to affected families, undertake measures to manage the healthcare system, implement a social amelioration program to affected sectors, and partner with private sectors and other stakeholders in the implementation of programs and measures. Furthermore, the law has authorized the President to exercise powers that are necessary and proper to carry out the national policy.
Below are some of the salient points of the Bayanihan to Heal as one Law:
- Treatment cost of COVID-19 patients, including public and private health workers, shall be covered under PhilHealth Insurance Program.
- Emergency subsidy for low income households under the Social Amelioration Program
- COVID-19 special risk allowance in addition to hazard pay of all public health workers
- Compensation for public and private health workers who may contract sever COVID 19 infection while in the line of duty or who may have die while fighting the COVID 19 pandemic.
- LGUs to act within the parameters of the regulations and directives issued by the National Government to address the pandemic while exercising autonomy in matters undefined by the National Government.
- LGUs to utilize more than 5% of their respective calamity funds subject to additional funding and support from the National Government
- Privately-owned hospitals and health facilities including passenger vessels and other establishments will be opened to accommodate health workers and converted into quarantine or isolation areas.
- Enforce measures against hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, cartels, monopolies or restraint of trade affecting the supply and distribution of essential items needed in households and industries
- Expedite procurement of personal protective equipment as well as other essential medical equipment and provide them as exemptions from the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The law also requires the regular reporting of all acts performed by the President and the creation of a Joint Congressional oversight committee to facilitate its review and assessment.