ILOILO CITY – Seafarer Ernie Alfeche recently received a startup capital consisting of catfish fingerlings and fry boosters amounting to P8,185 under the Employees’ Compensation Commission’s Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay) Program. The said pangkabuhayan package is over and above his income benefits provided under the Employees’ Compensation Program.

While onboard the vessel in 2010, Alfeche experienced extreme pain on the spine due to degeneration. While under medication, he had to go back to the Philippines to rest from work.

Alfeche received P24,000 as Employees’ Compensation (EC) Temporary Total Disability benefit for 120 days; P2,300 EC Permanent Partial Disability benefit for 8 months equivalent to P18,400 and P575 Carer’s Allowance for 8 months equivalent to P4,600 in 2010.

In 2014, Alfeche received additional P2,000 EC Permanent Partial Disability benefit for 7 months equivalent to P14,000 and P575 Carer’s allowance for 7 months amounting to P4,025.

The ECC-KaGabay Program also provided Alfeche with 14 sessions of physical therapy in West Visayas State University Medical Center worth P4,080 and transportation allowance worth P1,875 during his therapy sessions.

“ECC is a big help to me and my family. ECC helped me provide a decent life for my family. The assistance provided by ECC does not stop with compensation. It helps persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs) recover from illness or injury and empowers them to give their family a better life,” Alfeche said.

ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis stated that ECC continues to give hope to PWRDs and their families.

“Our duty is to provide accessible and viable services to workers with work-related contingencies. With our Regional Extension Units all over the country, we can address even the simplest assistance our clients need,” Banawis said.

Though the ECC provide compensation benefits and pangkabuhayan packages to persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs), Banawis encourages employers and employees to practice good occupational safety and health by complying with Occupational Safety and Health standards to ensure a healthy and safe work environment for employees. She also reminded employees to take reasonable care of their own health and safety.

“I would like to emphasize that prevention is better than compensation and rehabilitation. The ECC provides benefits for work-related incidents but good practices in OSH provide a better and healthier community,” explained Banawis.