Rustico Boboyo was a seaman for 17 years until he encountered an accident while he was on board a tanker vessel.

Boboyo got his right shoulder fractured and dislocated while pushing a heavy cart loaded with fruits and vegetables on a ramp.

After the incident, he became jobless. Depression and hopelessness hit Boboyo.

As Boboyo recalled, he said that what happened to him was D-E-A-D or disability ends all dreams.

While recovering from his injury, Boboyo learned from a colleague that the Employees’ Compensation Commission provides  rehabilitation programs for workers who figured in work-related injuries or contracted work-connected sickness.

ECC reached out to Boboyo and offered him 12 physical therapy sessions, livelihood program, entrepreneurship seminar and a starter kit package, through its Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay Program).

Boboyo never hesitated and immediately availed of the said program. He was granted a scholarship at the Center for Small Entrepreneurs and took meat processing class worth P3,000, he also enrolled at start-your-own business and enterprises seminar and received the Kabuhayan DOLE’s starter kit worth P5,000, in addition to EC Permanent Partial Disability benefits in the amount of P17,480 that he received as an occupationally disabled worker.

“This is the time to fill up my knowledge with new skills,” Boboyo realized.

“Through ECC, D-E-A-D obtained a different meaning. It is now developed entrepreneurs alwaysdreaming,” Boboyo gladly expressed.

He believed that the role of ECC to the ODWs is to help them bring back their self-esteem and to teach them to bounce back from trials they encountered due to their work-related sickness or injuries.

“Pag naibalik na ang tiwala sa sarili, kailangan lang ng focus at sipag at tyaga sa part ng mga ODWs para makaahong muli sa buhay (After regaining self-confidence, ODWs need focus, hard work and perseverance to recover in life),” he emphasized.

To date, Boboyo is the vice president of the occupationally disabled workers’ association which was established on April 19, 2013.

He is now engaged in making dishwashing liquid and native bags made of banana fiber.

“Thank you to ECC, you let me see the light again,” Boboyo remarked.

KaGabay Program is a project of ECC that provides a special economic assistance for ODWs who lost employment due to work-related sickness or injury.

DOLE Secretary and Chair of the ECC Board Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz stressed that ECC not only aims to provide compensation benefits to ODWs but also ensuring that they are leading a normal life.

On the other hand, ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis is elated to learn that ODWs perceive ECC as the healer of their shattered confidence.

“We hope that more ODWs will receive ECC’s assistance and that no one among them will feel inferior to anyone,” Banawis said.