“Akala ko, hindi na ako makakabangon ulit. Salamat sa ECC,” said 48-year-old Tito Z. Vigo.

Tito Z. Vigo, a 48-year-old seafarer working as a motorman for a shipping company met an accident in 2018, while working.

The accident happened when he asked his fellow motorman to assist him in lifting the drilling pipe. Unfortunately, his grip slipped that caused him to lose his balance and fall hard on the floor. The doctors found out that a nerve was stuck in his lower spine that caused him uncomfortable urination.

Since then, he was barred from work he so loved for so many years, went back to the Philippines, and started a life away from the seas that used to be his home away from home for many years.

Back to his hometown in Guimaras Island, he sometimes finds himself standing by the beach, looking at the horizons and dreaming that one day, he’ll be back to the other side navigating through the oceans doing what he calls a dirty job which all seamen like him is passionate about. “It’s not only our bread and butter. It has become our “dirty” passion,” Vigo said.

Though he’s back with his family for good, he couldn’t feel but feel anxious about the life waiting for a family man like him. He said he’s old to start a new life not to mention, the struggles in finding a new job given his physical limitations now. He admitted that not being able to provide for the family is more crippling than the pain he experienced during the accident.

I do not know how to start a life at 48,” Vigo intimated his feeling at that time.

But his worries started to disappear when he met the staff of the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) Regional Extension Unit VI.

ECC immediately assisted him in filing for his EC Loss of Income Benefit claim thru the Social Security System after which he received a total of P164, 373 for his Permanent Partial Disability and an additional P24, 000 for his sickness benefits.

He also availed, the ECC’s Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay) Program which offered him free consultations, physical rehabilitation services including physical therapy with transportation and meal allowance at the Western Visayas University Medical Center that cost P12, 200.

He said he felt better after a series of physical therapy. So, he attended ECC’s free entrepreneurship seminar in partnership with Department of Trade and Industry-Iloilo City where he was given a starting capital of P20, 000 for his proposed business—a sari-sari store, he now owns and runs.

He said he still has to face a lot of life challenges and uncertainties. But with everything that he received from ECC, “Akala ko, hindi na ako makakabangon ulit. Salamat ECC sa lahat ng tulong at malasakit. Pipilitin kong palaguin itong munting sari-sari store na binigay sa akin,” Vigo said.

Reporting by Stephen Barredo; Editing by Carlo A. Katigbak