Recto: Compensation for health workers stricken with COVID-19 should be tax-free

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2020 02:09 PM

A health worker interviews a patient at the San Juan COVID-19 Kalinga Center on April 19, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The compensation for health workers who died or were severely ill due to COVID-19 should be tax-free, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Thursday after President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a June 9 deadline for the grant of the benefit.

Senators earlier found that the Department of Health failed to disburse a promised P1 million for each health worker who died from COVID-19, and P100,000 each for those who were severely ill due to the disease, about 2 months since the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act - which guaranteed the said benefit - was passed.

"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?" he said.

(The cash grant given to athletes who won medals are tax-free, what more for those who literally risked their lives?)

Prior to Duterte's deadline, the DOH said the cash grant was not disbursed due to the delayed drafting of implementing rules and regulations for the law.

As of June 1, 2020, 32 health care workers have died from COVID-19, while 2 others remain severely ill. 

Of those who died, 26 were physicians, 4 were nurses, and 2 were non-medical staff.