Staying true to its commitment of providing enhanced benefits and services under the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP), the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) has issued 10 board resolutions with encompassing purpose of making the ECP more responsive to the welfare and development needs of the persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs). “One of the main functions of the ECC, as implementer of the ECP, is to formulate policies and guidelines for its improvement taking into consideration the best interest of the persons with work-related disabilities and their dependents,” ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said. Among the new policies to improve EC benefits include a ten percent across-the-board increase in Employees’ Compensation pension for public sector employees which was imposed after President Benigno S. Aquino III approved Executive Order 188 dated 11 September 2015 granting the said increase, to answer the need to continually improve the EC benefits. A board resolution approving the increase in EC temporary total disability (TTD) benefit for private sector was issued, a copy of which has been transmitted to the Office of the President for approval. Once in place, the Minimum Daily Income for TTD will increase from P10.00 to P110.00 and the Maximum Daily Income Benefit will increase from P200 to an amount computed based on the highest possible total monthly salary credit as per SSS Law, or P480.00. As a way of strengthening coordination on the evaluation and processing of EC claims for a more effective and efficient implementation of the ECP, the ECC, GSIS, and SSS have all agreed on a prescribed process cycle time (PCT) in the evaluation of EC claims counting from the submission of all required documents up to the release of benefits as appropriate. At the ECC, the PCT for the resolution of EC appealed cases from docketing up to the final decision of the Commission was reduced from 40 working days to 20 working days. The Board has also agreed on the adoption of the SSS pension formula for the computation of EC pension. This move will result to an increase in EC pension rate being received by pensioners from the private sector. In 2015, the Board also declared the compensability of injuries sustained by employees on the places of recreation within the premises of the employer, within the allowable period. A board resolution was also issued revising the conditions for the compensability of hernia as an occupational or work-related disease. “All these policies were issued to give way to a clearer and more specific guidelines in determining compensability of workplace accidents and work-related diseases,” Banawis said. The ECC also honored the bravery and the dedication of the members of the Special Action Force (SAF) who stood their ground in the Mamasapano battlefield to uphold the law despite overwhelming odds by effecting a facilitative processing of the EC benefits for the SAF troopers and/or their qualified beneficiaries. Through a board resolution, the ECC directed the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the administering agency of the ECC for the public sector, to immediately process and release the corresponding EC disability to the wounded troopers and initial death benefits to the qualified beneficiaries of the fallen 44 SAF troopers. A similar board resolution was also issued providing maximum assistance to the injured workers and the families of more than 70 workers whose lives were taken away by the fire incident in the Kentex Manufacturing Corporation. The said board resolution directed the Social Security System (SSS), the administering agency of the ECP for the private sector, to immediately process and release the corresponding EC sickness or disability benefits to the workers who survived the tragedy and the initial payment of EC death benefits. “We always have the welfare and best interest of the PWRDs in mind that is why we are continuously looking for ways on how we can enhance the ECP in the years to come,” Banawis said.