Puerto Rico's governor says he will pay public employees their annual Christmas bonus despite an economic crisis that sparked several strikes over the issue.

Alejandro García Padilla said the government began paying the bonuses on Sunday and will continue to do so through Wednesday.

The bonuses are required by law but their payment was delayed, sparking strikes that disrupted services at the island's public hospitals and shuttered the Department of Labor for three days earlier this month.

Puerto Rico is struggling with a $72 billion public debt load that García has said is unpayable and needs restructuring.

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