THE president of the Philippine Pediatric Society died after contracting the coronavirus disease 2019, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said yesterday.

Sally Gatchalian, who was also an assistant director at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, died, Mr. Duque told radio DZMM.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier signed a measure into law giving him special powers to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the measure, public and private health workers will get P100,00 in compensation if they are severely infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Their families will get P1 million if they get infected and die. The clause will be applied retroactively. Health workers will also get a special COVID-19 risk allowance on top of their regular hazard pay.

The proposed law allows the President to quicken the approval of testing kits and testing of persons under investigation and monitoring, as well as the isolation and treatment of patients.

He will also ensure that local governments follow the rules set by the National Government.

He will also continue to enforce measures against hoarding, profiteering, price manipulation and other illegal acts that could affect the supply and distribution of food and other basic goods.

The President will also speed up the procurement of protective gear for health workers, test kits, medical supplies and relief goods. He may also order the construction of temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas