coronavirus frontliners

Duterte gov’t vows P1 million for family of Cainta nurse who died of COVID-19

Rambo Talabong
Duterte gov’t vows P1 million for family of Cainta nurse who died of COVID-19

PROMISE. In this file photo, DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya leads a press briefing before the pandemic

Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

'We will ensure that her family receives all the benefits provided under the law,' says DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya

The Duterte government on Friday, August 14, promised the family of Maria Theresa Cruz – the nurse from Cainta who died of COVID-19 before receiving her hazard pay – that they would get properly compensated, as provided under the law.

In a statement on Thursday, August 13, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it will make sure that the Cruz family will receive P1 million in compensation.

“We will ensure that her family receives all the benefits provided under the law,” said DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

“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,” Malaya added.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, public and private healthcare workers who contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty are entitled to compensation worth P100,000. Families of health workers who die of COVID-19 while battling the pandemic will get P1 million in compensation.

A frontliner’s struggle

The plight of Nurse Cruz went viral after her daughter, Joie, shared her story on social media.

The fallen nurse’s expectations regarding her hazard pay – which was built up by official statements of the Department of Health – and what she actually received post-humously reflected the struggles of frontliners and their families during the pandemic.

DOH press releases had led Cruz to believe that she would receive a total of P30,000 hazard pay – P500 for each of her 60 work days – but the actual amount released to her family after her death amounted to only P7,265 or a hazard pay of P60.93 per day.

Ever since her post went viral, Joie has heard from authorities. Cainta Mayor Nieto gave her family P50,000. Senator Bong Go has promised to probe into the issue. Malacañang also said her mother’s small hazard pay and the delay in releasing it was unacceptable. – with a report from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.