ECC’s State Insurance Fund Continues to be Strong

Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said that the State Insurance Fund (SIF) remains healthy despite the increasing amount of payments to workers for work-related contingencies.

In a report released by ECC, total assets of the SIF as of December 31, 2017 now amounts to P60.82 billion. This reflects a significant 11 percent or P6.05 billion increase from the total assets as of December 2016. Sixty two percent (62%) or P37.62 billion of the SIF is lodged at the Social Security System (SSS) and the remaining 38 percent or P23.21 billion is with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), both implementing agencies for the employees’ compensation program for private and public sectors, respectively.

The SIF is sourced from the contributions paid by the government and private employers to fund the programs and services of ECC for Filipino workers who suffer from work related sickness, injury and death.

“SSS released P1.15 billion for the payment of 244,528 EC benefit claims in the private sector in 2017 while GSIS provided P220.85 million income and other EC benefits for 40,988 benefit claims in the public sector. Death and pension benefits comprised the highest share in the EC benefit payment made both by the Systems which summed up to P1.01 billion”, said Executive Director Banawis.

The number of claims from workers in the private sector in 2017 decreased by 1.71% or 4,268 from 2016. The number of claims from workers in the public sector increased by 1.44% or 584 claims from 2016. Significantly, the number of claims in the public sector in 2012 was at 5,603. This increased to 7,165 in 2013, 16,170 in 2014, 31,029 in 2015, 40,404 in 2016 and 40,988 in 2017. The increase was brought about by the intensive information campaign on the EC program.

Banawis added that the total expenditures in 2017 amounted to P1.52 billion which includes payment for EC benefits, the operating expenses of the ECC and the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) and the management fees of the SSS and GSIS.

The SIF also recorded a total revenue of P7.58 billion from January to December 31, 2017, primarily driven by the apt collection of members’ contributions and income from investments. The P17.61 billion investment of GSIS earned an investment income of P871.25 million while the P34.56 billion investment of the SSS made a notable P2.03 billion investment income as of December 31, 2017.

“We are committed in implementing effective long term financial plans to secure the stability of the SIF. Based on an actuarial study conducted by the SSS and GSIS in September 2017, workers in the private sector are assured of their benefits under the EC Program until beyond 2080 while government workers are assured until 2067”, Executive Director Banawis added.

The Employees Compensation and State Insurance Fund was created on November 1, 1974 by virtue of PD 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines but became fully operational with the issuance of PD 626 on January 1, 1975. The Commission is chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Employment and its members include the heads of GSIS, SSS, DOH, ECC Secretariat and representatives from the employers and employees sector. For 43 years now, ECC has already granted P38.12 billion worth of benefits for more that 6 million claims. Members of ECC is about 27 million from both the government and private sectors.


Victims of collapsed bunkhouse in Cebu will receive EC benefits

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III yesterday said that those workers who died or were injured after the bunkhouse accident in Brgy. Lahug, Cebu City are entitled to receive benefits under the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP).

“It was an unfortunate accident but we want to assure the workers and their families of the utmost assistance from the DOLE, especially from the Employees’ Compensation Commission,” Bello said.

In her report to the DOLE Chief, ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis stated that under Board Resolution No. 12-01-02, injuries and the resulting disabilities or death sustained by stay-in local employees within the quarters furnished by the employers are compensable under the ECP, regardless of the time of its occurrence.

Exception to the rule includes those injuries, disability, or death occasioned by the employee’s intoxication, willful intent to injure or kill himself or another, or notorious negligence, as provided under Presidential Decree No. 626, as amended.

Banawis added, that the so-called ‘bunkhouse rule’ is applicable to the plight of the afflicted employees who were working on the construction projects of J.E. Abraham Lee Construction and Development, Inc. The 30-foot tall bunkhouse, which served as shelter for more than 150 workers, collapsed at 2:50 a.m. of 6 March 2018 when most of the occupants were still fast asleep. Five died and 57 were injured, as a result of the accident.

“We are just waiting for the official list of casualties from the local authorities in order for the Social Security System, the administering agency of the ECP for the private sector, to immediately process and release their corresponding benefits,” Bello added, citing the policy of the Commission for the facilitative processing and release of ECP benefits for the victims of large-scale obvious work-related accidents.

He added that the said list will serve as a sufficient basis for the processing and subsequent release of the EC benefits of the affected workers, sparing them from the submission of several documentary requirements.

The labor chief also emphasized that the ECP coverage of the workers will not depend on whether they are enrolled by their companies under the SSS or if their companies are religiously remitting their contributions.

“As long as they have an employment relationship with their respective companies, they are entitled to the benefits and services of the ECP. However, if the companies failed to enroll their workers under the SSS, or they do not remit their SSS contributions, they will be liable for the 50 percent of the lump sum benefits of their workers,” Bello added.

The affected workers will be entitled to loss of income benefits, medical benefits, carer’s allowance, death pension, and rehabilitation services under the ECP. Aside from these, they are also qualified to avail of the benefits under the ECC’s Katulong at Gabay ng Manggagawang May Kapansanan, or KaGabay Program. The said program enables the Persons with Work-Related Disability (PWRD) to avail of physical therapy, skills or entrepreneurial training, and livelihood assistance.

Bello said that the regional officers of the ECC-Regional Extension Unit No. 7 has been dispatched to assist the workers and their families, in terms of their benefits and privileges availment under the ECP.


60 year-old Cebu mechanic receives prosthesis

Cebu City – “Walay kabutangan sa akong kalipay, tungod kay gawas sa pension anaa pa diay prosthesis akong madawat sa akong aksidente niadtong 1984,”  (I can not explain how happy I am because other than the pension I enjoyed, I have now a prosthesis provided by the Employees’ Compensation Commission), said Reynado Merida in Cebuano upon receipt of his prosthesis.

Merida, 60 years old from Toledo City, was a mechanic of Atlas Mining in Toledo City, Cebu. On July 17, 1984 while he was at the jobsite, his left leg was hit by a shovel. He was brought to the hospital but his leg was not saved.

He enjoyed his EC permanent partial disability for 49 months. Last year, the ECC assisted Merida under the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay) Program which aims to integrate our persons with work related disabilities (PWRD) beneficiaries to the economic mainstream. He was fitted with a prosthesis for his leg amputation which cost P199,500.00.

“With his new prosthesis, Merida will surely enjoy his new found mobility,” said ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis.  “Sa ECC, higit pa sa benepisyo ang ibinibigay na serbisyo,” she added.

End/Ingrid Zafra-Yumang, IO-II