Virgilio Tagra, a lineman from Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Maasin City, started his day on October 3, 2015 like any other day. However, as he was performing several electric repair works, in a sudden twist of fate, he came into contact with a live wire that resulted to his electrocution. The incident caused the amputation of his left arm and left leg which severely affected his working capacity and the finances of his family.

Like Tagra, Herbert Madredejo has been working for the same electric company for several years as a groundman when he was likewise electrocuted in January 2008. This resulted to several burns in his skull, left leg and even the amputation of his right arm. Although Madredejo has been able to go back to work, he admits that his finances is not as stable as before.

Meanwhile, Roland Samaco was working as a Thirdmate on board a ship of the Elburg Ship Management Philippines Incorporated when he was bitten by a dog during the launching of the life raft drill. He had been repatriated and since then, he has been unable to find any form of employment due to his injuries.

Since the establishment of the Employees’ Compensation Commission Regional Extension Units, the staff of the Commission has actively reached out to Persons with Work-Related Disabilities (PWRDs) for the implementation of the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay) Program.

Under this program, PWRDs with approved Employees’ Compensation claim may avail of free rehabilitation services including physical/occupational therapy or free assistive devices. Beneficiaries may also avail of free skills or entrepreneurship training for re-employment.

Madredejo, Tagra and Samaco already have approved Employees’ Compensation claims. Therefore, they have become eligible for the benefits under the KaGabay Program.

The ECC also tapped the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry to provide Small Business Management Training at the Maasin City Negosyo Center. Through this training, they were apprised of the different techniques and methods to fully manage a business enterprise.

On January 26, 2017, during the conduct of the Employees’ Compensation Program Advocacy Seminar in Maasin City, the Employees’ Compensation Commission, together with the representative from the SSS, released the livelihood starter kits comprising of several sacks of rice, animal feeds, and weighing scale worth ten thousand pesos each to Tagra, Madredejo and Samaco for a start-up agri-business in their chosen locations. This is on top of the loss of income benefits, medical benefits and rehabilitation services that they received from the Employees’ Compensation Program.

“The Employees’ Compensation Commission has always pursued the reintegration of our PWRDs to the economic mainstream. We have institutionalized several programs to fully assist these workers on their way to recovery and the KaGabay has been specifically established to meet this objective.” ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said. “At the end of the day, despite their disabilities, we all want them to live productive lives” Banawis added.