The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) applied the Personal Comfort Rule as it recently awarded compensation benefits to Estrella, the widow of Antonio Jumaquio, a former janitor assigned at PLDT, Makati City Branch, who died due to a vehicular accident.

On January 25, 2002 at around 6:40 am, Jumaquio was hit by a speeding vehicle in front of his office at PLDT, Makati City while crossing to buy food at a nearby stall.   He was rushed to the Makati Medical Center where he was declared dead on arrival.

The Social Security System denied Estrella’s claim because the deceased was not engaged in his official duties at the time of the accident.

On appeal, the ECC decided favorably on Estrella’s claim.  The ECC considered the fact that the deceased’s work schedule was from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm.  He was required to report for work prior to 6:00 am and before the usual breakfast time.  Thus, his act of buying food at 6:40 am, on the day of the accident, was to satisfy his hunger.  Hence, the deceased’s act of buying food at the time of the accident falls squarely under the Personal Comfort Doctrine.

Under the ECC policy, acts performed by an employee within the time and space limits of his employment, to minister to personal comfort, such as satisfaction of his thirst, hunger and other physical demands, or to protect himself from excessive cold shall be deemed incidental to his employment and injuries the employee suffered in the performance of such acts shall be considered compensable and arising out of and in the course of employment.

The Employees’ Compensation Program   provides benefits to workers in the event of work-connected sickness, injuries or death.

Claims are filed at the Social Security System (SSS)   for the private sector and the Government service Insurance System (GSIS) for the public sector.  For inquiries on the EC Program, the Public Assistance Center of the ECC may be reached at telephone number 896-78-37.