A leader of the House of Representatives pushed Saturday for the enactment of a bill establishing a national monument to be called “Bantayog ng mga Bayaning Frontliners” to recognize the heroism of frontliners of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Metro Manila Development, said his House Bill 9159 or the proposed “Frontliners Recognition Act” also sought to declare a “National Day of Mourning or Remembrance” for fallen COVID-19 frontliners.
“As we face a continuous surge of COVID-19 infections and almost all of our hospitals in the National Capital Region once again declare full capacity, our frontline workers, both medical and non-medical, have not stopped working tirelessly, selflessly, and valiantly in the service of their countrymen despite the clear and imminent dangers to their own health and safety,” Lopez said.
“It is in this time, now more than ever, that we should recognize the courage, hard work, sacrifice, and invaluable contribution of our Frontline Heroes,” he added.
Lopez said the bill shall serve as a memorial for the heroism of all “frontline heroes.”
He proposed in the bill that the national monument will be inaugurated during the National Day of Mourning and Remembrance for COVID-19 Frontliners, a special working holiday.
Under the bill, a committee shall be created to formulate guidelines for the nomination and selection of Frontline Heroes whose names will be engraved in the Bantayog.
A scholarship and financial assistance grant will also be provided to the children of the Frontline Heroes in any State Schools, Colleges or Universities, the bill provides.
“We shall ensure that the selection process will be transparent and open to the public. This is but a simple recognition compared to the enormous sacrifice and selfless service our frontliners have given in these trying times,” Lopez said.
Lopez earlier sought an investigation of the reported delay in the release of the benefits due to health workers through House Resolution 1704.
He cited the need for a congressional inquiry since such benefits are mandated by law and to determine the effectiveness of the measures instituted by various agencies to address the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic, including preparedness to administer vaccines.
The investigation, Lopez said, would also determine the compliance of public and private entities to provide health workers with all the benefits mandated by law.
“The complaints from our essential workers should not fall on deaf ears, but rather, should compel us to review and reformulate the country’s COVID-19 response for the safety and welfare of our citizens and the nation as a whole,” Lopez said.
“Undue delay in the provision of benefits and allowances to our essential workers who continue to work tirelessly and valiantly for the country is absolutely reprehensible,” he added.