ECC @ 47: Resilience and Unwavering Commitment in the Time of Pandemic
As the world continues to feel the impact of the CoViD-19 pandemic, we also continue to find ourselves in a challenging environment as uncertainty and volatility confront our resiliency and demands stronger commitment.
In 2021, the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) held strong in the face of adversity and delivered quality programs and benefits to workers who suffer from work-related sickness, injury, or death.
True to its mission, ECC’s coordinated worked harmoniously with the Department of Labor and Employment agenda and the Philippine Development Plan’s vision of a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat, particularly for ECC’s clients, the Persons with Work-related Disabilities.
The ECC strategically adapted its ways to deliver strong results and ensure the continuity of services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
All of these and other initiatives that the ECC continues to endeavor would not materialize without the strong support of the ECC Governing Board, officials and employees including those in ECC’s 14 Regional Extension Units nationwide.
Issuance of Relevant EC Policies
The Commission immediately came out with several policies tailored to the present and evolving needs of the workers.
Board Resolution No. 21-03-08 dated 11 March 2021 granted compensation to all covered members and/or their qualified beneficiaries in the event of disability or death due to inoculation under Republic Act No. 11525 or the CoViD-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.
Board Resolution No. 21-03-09 dated 11 March 2021 provided for the policy on the compensation of disability or death under P.D. No. 626, as amended, due to injuries sustained by employees in the public and private sectors while in the performance of their duties or assigned tasks in their residences or dwelling places.
Board Resolution No. 21-04-13 dated 06 April 2021 approved a one-time EC top-up cash assistance of Php 30,000 for claimants in the private sector with approved EC benefits because of work-related CoViD-19.
Board Resolution No. 21-04-14 provided for the compensability of CoViD-19 by enlisting it the ECC List of Occupational and Work-related Diseases or Annex A of the Amended Rules on Employees’ Compensation.
Board Resolution No. 21-04-15 dated 28 April 2021 and Board Resolution No. 21-05-19 dated 21 May 2021 provided for the guidelines on the implementation of Administrative Order No. 39 of the Office of the President authorizing the grant of a one-time financial assistance of Php 20,000 to Employees’ Compensation pensioners in the public and private sectors, respectively.
Board Resolution No. 21-05-17 dated 20 May 2021 further eased the prescriptive period in the filing of EC claims under P.D. No. 626, as amended, in all provinces, highly-urbanized cities, independent component cities during the entire duration of the state of public health emergency due to the CoViD-19 pandemic amending for this purposes B.R. No. 20-07-12.
Grant of EC Benefits and Services
Aside from the formulation of relevant and timely policies, the ECC continued to provide much needed benefits. In 2021, ECC, through its implementing agencies, SSS for private sector workers and GSIS for government employees, has paid a total of P2,056,865,855.29 EC benefits for 263,305 claims. Of the said amount, P1,662.773,909.00 was paid by SSS to private sector employees while P394,091,946.29 was paid by GSIS to government employees. Of these, claims related to CoVID-19 amounted to P450,912,678.96. A total of P541,440,000.00 was likewise granted to 27,072 EC pensioners following the issuance of the policy which provides a P20,000 financial assistance during the pandemic inorder to augment their existing EC pension.
In the same year, the Commission disposed 83% or 109 cases out of 131 appealed cases denied by the Social Security System (SSS) or Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Seventy-four percent (74%) of these cases were disposed within the prescribed process cycle time of 20 working days.
The ECC remained firm in its commitment to empower persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs) and help them respond to the crisis through the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may Kapansanan or the KaGabay Program.
ECC has facilitated the provision of starter kits worth Php 20,000 to 253 PWRDs. Complementary kits worth Php 10,000 were granted to 83 PWRDs who were able to sustain their livelihood projects for at least three months since its opening. In addition, a total of 53 PWRDs underwent physical/occupational therapy sessions, while 20 PWRDs were afforded rehabilitation appliances/prosthesis and 150 availed entrepreneurial and skills training.
The Commission continued to strengthen its Quick Response Program (QRP) to provide immediate help to workers and their families in the event of work-related sickness, injury, or death in the form of psychosocial support and cash assistance of Php 10,000 for workers who have approved EC sickness or disability claims at the Systems or Php 15,000 for the beneficiaries of deceased members with approved EC death claims.
As of February 28, 2022, more than Php 168.53 million EC cash assistance were granted to over 16,975 workers due to work-related sickness, injury or death, including those who contracted work-related Covid19.
Intensification of ECP Info dissemination and Innovations
The challenges presented by the pandemic propelled the Commission to intensify its efforts to educate workers of their rights and benefits under the ECP. The ECC has conducted 1071 ECP advocacy seminars/webinars, reaching 47,754 participants from 27,422 companies nationwide.
The ECC continues to utilize various multimedia platforms and explore ways to reach people, both offline and online. It strengthens the public’s awareness of the ECP through TV and radio appearances on both the national and regional level. ECC has its online presence through posting timely and informative contents and materials on Facebook and YouTube. To date, the Employees’ Compensation Commission official Facebook page sees steady increases in its follower count from more than 482,000 in 2020 to more than 549,000 followers in 2021.
Deeply committed in its promise of delivering excellent services, the ECC launched in May 2021 a chatbot named ECCAI on its Facebook page and website, with ECC information officers as live agents, when necessary. Through the chatbot, the Commission provided a more efficient and systematic 24/7 online public assistance serving a total of 20, 311 unique Facebook users since its launch on January 4, 2021. In July 2021, ECC started its very own Viber community which provides another channel to address clients’ concerns on the EC Program.
Recognitions and Awards
Throughout another challenging year and amid a global pandemic, the ECC delivered a strong performance which allowed it to receive the following recognitions and awards from various partners and other award-giving bodies:
- Customer Service Recognition Award, Asean Social Security Association Recognition Award 2021, Myanmar
- First Placer in the Disability Management Video Competition 2021 “Rebuilding, Lives, Reimagining The Future” Southeast Asia Region Edition organized by the Social Security Organization (SOCSO), Malaysia
- Freedom of Information Awards 2021
- Certificates of Recognition from Bombo Radyo Radio Network; Pangasinan Government Information Officers’ Association, Inc.; Philippine Information Agency; Safety Organization of Negros Occidental, Inc.; Philippine Statistics Office – Bukidnon SHEPHERD Corporation, Pangasinan, PIA Ilocos Sur, City Government of Baguio, and Philippine Statistic Office – Bukidnon
- Presidential Special Recognition Award from People Management Association of the Philippines – Cagayan De Oro Chapter.
WAY TO GO
The ECC remains as the vanguard for the welfare of the Filipino workers with work-related contingencies. For 2022, the ECC will implement the coverage of land-based OFWs, continue to increase EC benefits, propose a bill for the New Employees’ Compensation Program, prepare the framework for the “Return to Work Program”, and propose the ECC Reorganization.
In this most challenging times, ECC has remained unwavering to its promise of committed service and to the pursuit of a more responsive and efficient Employees’ Compensation Program. The Commission will keep pushing the boundaries and face adversities head on to restore PWRDs to suitable employment and to develop their mental, vocational, or social potentials in accordance with law.