A 45-year-old seafarer thought he could no longer provide for his family after an accident at work until he found out about ECC.

For 23 years, Ruel C. Espulgar from Iloilo City worked as a seafarer for a maritime company. But after his accident, he was told he could no longer go back to work. That was the start of his financial and psychological dilemma.

Espulgar recalled the details of the incident. He said that he was on a ladder doing the usual check-up in their station when he slipped off the ladder. “Instead of allowing myself to fall on the floor, I really tried to catch the nearest railing and held on to it. But the pressure was so tight and hard.”

Though the other crew helped him, he said the prolonged hanging had caused big damage to his shoulder as he started feeling severe pain. It got worse as they headed to their destination.

When he learned that they were nearing the dock area, he had himself checked in a hospital in Hong Kong where he was diagnosed with severe shoulder injury. But, the worse part he said was yet to come when the doctor revealed to him that he could no longer go back to work due to the damages his shoulder incurred.

He was repatriated to the Philippines and never called back for work again. His world crumbled along with his dreams of having a better future for his family. He thought he could no longer provide for his family. Until he found out about the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC).

ECC assisted him in claiming his Employees’ Compensation (EC) Claim at an SSS branch which amounted to a total of P157, 000 for his loss of income.

On top of the loss of income benefits that he received under the EC Program, he also availed of the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang May Kapansanan (KaGabay) Program thru physical therapy sessions with transportation and meal allowance at the West Visayas State University Medical Center. He then enrolled to ECC’s Entrepreneurship Seminar in partnerhip with the local DTI Negosyo Center-Iloilo City, where he was given additional P20k-worth for his water station business.

“Sa ngayon, umaayos na ang aking kalagayan dahil sa libreng therapy sessions mula sa ECC. Naging pangkabuhayan ko rin ang aking water station. Mabuti na lang at nalaman ko ang tungkol sa ECC. Maraming salamat sa lahat ng naitulong niyo sa akin,” said Espulgar.

A few months ago, Albert D. Cepriano, 28 years old, another seafarer from Iloilo City who also met an accident at work also received more than P17, 000 worth of rehabilitation services with transportation and meal allowance. He likewise, received an additional P20, 000 worth of business package for his sari-sari store.

Espulgar and Cepriano have a combined benefits amounting to more than P214, 000.

ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis emphasized, “More than the financial assistance that we provide to workers who meet work-related contingencies, we believe that reintegrating them in the economic mainstream and making them feel productive again are more important.”

Reporting by Stephen Barredo; Editing by Carlo A. Katigbak