The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) launched the Return to Work Assistance Program (RTWAP) in Region IV-A at the Hotel Marciano, Calamba, Laguna on February 28, 2023.

The pilot program served to introduce the RTWAP to its stakeholders in the government and private sectors, hospitals, academe, as well as members of organizations for Persons with disabilities (PWD).

The RTWAP is an interdisciplinary approach to rehabilitation support that aims to facilitate employees who figured in work-related accidents’ recovery as well as safe and timely return to employment. It is modeled after the Return to Work Program framework of the Social Security Organization of Malaysia which first introduced the concept in 2007.

According to ECC OIC-Executive Director Jose Maria Batino, “The RTWAP goes beyond providing persons with work-related disability (PWRDs) with therapy services or assistive devices. It is also about disability management – the main essence of which is to reintegrate the PWRDs into the economic mainstream as empowered and productive individuals.

Former ECC Executive Director Stella Banawis, who was the guest of honor at the event, highlighted the importance of timeliness or early intervention – one of the principles of RTWAP. In said reintegration process, it was emphasized that the lack of which reduces the chance of successfully returning the worker to employment.

Kahit na hindi pa siya [manggagawa] magaling na magaling, pwede na siyang  bumalik sa trabaho dahil ang trabaho niya ay considered as part of the recovery process. Kaya importante itong Return to Work Program,” added Banawis.

In presenting the RTWAP concept, Dr. Christine Marquez, OIC-Chief of the Work Contingency, Prevention and Rehabilitation Division, related that the manufacturing industry, a sector predominant in Region IV-A, has the highest occurrence of work-related injuries, hence the reason for piloting the program in the region.

The launch of the RTWAP is in furtherance of ECC’s existing services for PWRDs, particularly the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may kapansanan (KaGabay) Program which addresses PWRDs rehabilitation needs in the form of physical restoration, provision of assistive devices, and livelihood assistance.

The ECC is set to conduct a series of meetings with different stakeholders to onboard more with the program which it also projects to roll out nationwide.


J. Romasanta – REU4A