The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) recently ruled in favor of a seafarer for his work-connected cardiac problem secondary to hypertension.

Appellant worked as a seafarer for years. His 2018 medical fitness certificate showed that he was “fit” to work, although it was noted that he was under maintenance medication for hypertension. In his medical self-declaration, he denied smoking cigarettes.

On August 2, 2019, appellant filed for EC claim, but the Social Security System (SSS) denied it. SSS said that his illness was a pre-existing medical condition, hence, it is not work-related and has no causal relationship to the nature of his work. He was hypertensive, even before being hired and also a smoker for about thirty (30) years.

On appeal, the ECC decided to grant the disability claim in favor of the seafarer. According to the Commission, there is a reasonable probability that the seafarer’s job increased his risk for contracting or developing his hypertension.

The ECC recognized that the nature of the seaman’s job is deemed stressful.

It explained that although the appellant was a smoker, such fact is not the sole risk factor. Physically exhausting working conditions placed too much unusual strain on the appellant’s body. There is a reasonable probability that the seafarer’s working condition contributed to the manifestation of his illness.

The ECC granted the appellant’s EC disability benefits based on the degree of his disability.

EC Claims for work-related sickness or injury resulting in disability or death are filed at the SSS for private sector workers and GSIS for public sector workers.


Jai – C.O.